His stage name Loyle Carner is a spoonerism of his double-barreled surname Coyle-Larner, and the importance of family is a theme that runs through and defines his Mercury Award-nominated debut album ‘Yesterday’s Gone’. The album ends with a beautiful poem from his mother about Loyle’s upbringing followed by a final song from his late father.
This intimate, genuine feel of the record is what makes Carner’s work so accessible, and what has allowed his fans to connect so closely to his work. His lyrics are honest. They’re personal. But they’re a whole lot of fun as well. There’s nothing sombre about listening to Carner’s beats, put out on top of a mixture of charging guitar riffs, stripped back keys and more traditional hip-hop backbeats.
Loyle manages to translate all of this to the live stage remarkably well. The stage is set up to look like a living room. That giant football shirt looks out over the whole thing, and the stories Carner tells between songs of how he wrote his material are actually quite humbling at times.
Something we loved about Carner’s album was the intermittent spoken word sections, and it was great to see him bring those to the live stage too. Hundreds of Glaswegian teens and 20-somethings speaking simultaneously along with Loyle’s poetry was something special, and particularly appropriate on National Poetry Day.
Loyle is a very animated performer. There’s no standing still, and his words and timing are perfect throughout. He split the setlist up with some of his older material which we hadn’t heard before, before returning to the ‘Yesterday’s Gone’ running order. ‘Florence’ is probably one of our favourite tracks on the record - deeply intimate and with a beautiful hook from Kwes that Glasgow sang along to in droves. The story of what it’s about - the sister Loyle never had, but one day hopes to - only makes it that much more beautiful.
Using his mother’s poem at the end of ‘Son of Jean’ to fill the space between the end of his set and his encore was genius, and fan favourite ‘No CD’ went down expectantly well before Loyle signed off with a new poem. “I promise we can make time a fleeting thing,” he said. A great end.
We were slightly disappointed not to hear an airing of ‘Mrs C’, a really great track from the record, but it was a fantastic performance overall.
All things considered, Loyle Carner is a very talented writer, performer, and he really is a very likeable human being as well. Between his commitment to his family, he also runs a cookery class for those with ADHD in London. He’s also been giving out free tickets to his gigs in exchange for retro football shirts.
It is very, very difficult to dislike Loyle Carner. And that’s something refreshingly enjoyable to say about someone quite possibly on the way to the top of their scene.