It is not only due to the fact that the Brudenell is a favourite venue of mine, largely down to it’s intimate, living room setting, but hearing Carner perform there in his Paris football shirt, felt just like watching my mates have a jam.
His artist name Loyle Carner is a spoonerism of his actual name Benjamin Gerard Coyle-Larner, a reference to his childhood struggle with dyslexia and ADHD. It is perhaps unsurprising then, from this choice of name, that Loyle demonstrates an extremely down to earth, genuine and friendly persona, and during his set gave the impression he was chatting (and rapping, obviously) to those in the crowd very personably.
Perhaps ignorantly, I lacked understanding of his meaningful lyrics upon initial listening, particularly those on his new album ‘Not Waving, But Drowning’. Maybe it was the fact that we were in the same room but hearing him perform live resulted in more intricate listening and understanding of words that are clearly based on real life experiences. Between songs, he described his upbringing in a white family with mum and step dad, and expressed difficulty in associating with his roots. Having misheard his step dad tell him he was from ‘Ghana’, it was years later that he realised he actually said ‘Guyana’ (referenced in the lyrics of ‘Looking Back’ – “told me I’m from Ghana but really it’s Guyana”.
About 20 seconds into ‘You Don’t Know’ Carner stopped the song in recognition of a member of the crowd exclaiming ‘hold on, wait, wait, one sec…I got really fucking distracted…this is my boy…we played basketball yesterday in the park and I’ve spotted him’. He then invited the boy into the stage stating how he had ‘beat him 5-2’ in a game in Hyde Park the day before (cue regrets from the crowd for not having been in the park at that precious time).
Carner gave a little insight into his life of recent, claiming that in his two-year absence from releasing music, he had ‘fallen in love’ and moved into a new home (which reflects the lyrics of ‘Dear Jean’, addressed to his mum). Clearly not lacking in humility, Loyle was unsure of how popular his new music would become and expressed his gratitude for fans support. I feel somewhat grateful (selfishly) that his modesty resulted in him playing at a venue like Brudenell, particularly given that he is set to be playing large festival stages this summer. Don’t miss him, he’s a real ‘Angel’.
All Image Credits: Kelsey Raynor