Live Review: Loyle Carner // The Liquidroom, Edinburgh – 04.03.17

If there’s one thing Benjamin Coyle-Larner – adopting the spoonerism Loyle Carner – can guarantee, it’s that he’ll put a smile on your face.

An example of this can be found in his positivity about ADHD – his “superpower” – and his willingness to help youngsters who suffer from the disorder. While this may seem irrelevant to his musical exploits, it’s evidence that the South-Londoner is no ordinary artist – and the same can be said for his performances on stage.

After triumphantly bringing last year to a close, in scooping DICE’s 2016 Live Award, Carner has continued his success into 2017 – with debut album, Yesterday’s Gone, receiving rave reviews since it’s release last month. Kicking off his sell-out UK and Europe-wide tour with performances in Dublin and Glasgow, RIOT was there to witness the next dose of Loyle carnage – in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town – at The Liquidroom.

With the stage set up to resemble a cosy sitting room – complete with an armchair, lampshades and a bookshelf that doubled up as DJ decks – opening act MANIKMC‘s honest lyricism set the mood for a night of impressively absorbing performances. From describing “when you wake up and it’s blue skies, then as soon as you go outside it’s pissing it down” in Blue Afternoons and Grey Evenings, to an impassioned spoken word poem, MANIKMC proved a masterstroke in warming the crowd up.

By the time Carner made it on stage – donning a Black Watch tartan kilt no less – The Liquidroom was packed to the rafters and bouncing. Wasting no time, he opened with The Isle Of Arran before addressing the Edinburgh faithful as being proudly “half-Scottish”. Mean It In The Morning and the spoken word +44 followed, before The Seamstress (Tooting Masala) – with Carner’s trademark exuberance shining throughout.

Carner grew into his performance, firing out Damselfly, Stars & Shards and Mufasa, before taking on the role of storyteller prior to Florence. He explained that his mum, Jean, had always wanted a daughter, with Florence his beautifully crafted imagining of a sister-that-never-was – “for my mum”.

Carner’s incredibly impassioned stage presence continued with No Worries and BFG – an ode to his estranged biological father – before addressing more family matters in Tierney Terrace and the hugely popular Ain’t Nothing Changed.

NO CD was received with rapturous energy, prior to Carner once again painting a contextual picture regarding the eponymous number, Yesterday’s Gone. The song samples one of his late stepfather’s own tracks, with Carner recalling how they were “gonna tour the world and take over the world” together.

As the touching album art for Yesterday’s Gone receded person-by-person to leave Jean Coyle-Larner, her heartwarming monologue about her beloved Benjamin – heard at the end of Sun Of Jean – played out, as the lights faded and Carner left the stage to much love from the Liquidroom.

Words by Jonno Mack

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Jonno Mack

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