Loyle Carner review: the next star of grime you need to know about

The London MC burns with potential, with a live performance that’s equal parts charm and fire

Artist: Loyle Carner

Venue: Workman's Dublin

Date Reviewed: February 2nd, 2017

Loyle Carner is the latest MC to be blazing a trail far outside the south London scene he calls home. Just a week ago, Benjamin Coyle-Larner (to his mum) announced himself to the world with a stunning debut album Yesterday’s Gone. His languid style of delivery belies the craft that underpins the melodies; textured, soulful tracks that have as much in common with Motown as they do with London.

Live, he amps it up, injecting energy and a shade more anger to his delivery. He doesn’t have the biggest voice in rap, and his timbre is not as gritty as some of his contemporaries. At just 21, he also doesn’t quite have the same heft of personality yet but that will come in time.

It’s a joy to watch the beginning of something great, to be in a small room with a talent that’s about to ignite. And as he moves through the gears and the crowd bounce back plenty of choruses, on standout tracks such as No CD, Swear and set and album opener The Isle of Arran, he seems at first moved and then energised by the room’s giddy enthusiasm.

Carner’s between-song banter burrs past a little too fast to catch all the jokes and jibes, but when he rails against a review that called him the “sentimental face of grime” he seems genuinely aggrieved. Based on this performance, it doesn’t seem inaccurate and it’s certainly not a dig.

His stage backdrop is a portrait of his extended friends and family, and with the last track of the night, he raps over samples that he found on an album his late father made and left in their basement. The set closes out with his mother on camera, describing Carner as an even younger man, and the drive and passion that’s got him to where he is.

Carner has got a lot further to go, and he burns with potential; it’ll be thrilling to watch him get there, so catch him while you can in rooms as small as this.