LIVE REVIEW: Loyle Carner @ O2 City Hall, Newcastle (23.02.23) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Sirus Gahan


Take these words and go forwards, go forwards, go forwards.” These words, echoing like a mantra. These words, each one measured, deliberate and purposeful. These words, spoken by a man at the very apex of his powers, a man whose personal growth is every bit as evident as his musical one. 

From bounding onto the stage to new album opener Hate, to bowing off it to closer HGU, Loyle Carner has the undivided attention of a packed O2 City Hall. The evening is punctuated by interstitials that sometimes feel like a big brother offering you heartfelt advice, sometimes like a young man venting at things he understands but feels powerless to change. The multitudes contained with Loyle Carner’s music are distilled perfectly into Blood On My Nikes, featuring an in-person guest verse from Athian Akec, the former Labour Youth MP and activist. It shows Carner as a collaborator, both a mentor, and a student. Before launching into Jorja Smith collaboration, Loose Ends Carner tells the crowd he spent the previous night in Newcastle watching Paul Mescal’s BAFTA nominated performance in Aftersun at the Tyneside Cinema. Doubtless touched by the storyline of a young father finding his way through parenthood, Carner examines both his role as a father and his relationship with his own dad in huge detail on Hugo, he speaks of the toxicity of masculinity to huge cheers.

This is who Loyle Carner is; empathetic, vulnerable, driven and seriously talented. He is a generational talent, and a musician every generation should sit up and listen to.


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