Loyle Carner has made his first ever Southampton appearance at the sold out Engine Rooms. Having just recently released his debut album, Yesterday’s Gone, the South London musician confidently takes to the stage to run through the track list, with a few additions including best friend, producer and MC Rebel Kleff.
Support comes from Manik, an MC and rapper from London. He reels off multiple songs, rapping over simplistic bass driven beats, and regularly thanking the crowd for their encouragement. He also impresses further, with a political spoken word piece which racked up a loud cheer and applause.
Carner opens with ‘The Isle of Arran’, a track featuring uplifting gospel vocals in which he raps about the lack of a father figure in his life. The energy within the room from the offset is intangible and the crowd instantly begins to bounce along with the animated figure on stage. Afterwards, he shouts “How the fuck are you lot doing?” and is answered with an instant uproar.
Carner rockets through 13 songs altogether, including ‘The Seamstress’, which he states is about an evil girl he knew (adding “I’m over it, I’m over it” amidst laughing) and ‘Florence’, written about the little sister he never had, featuring the lyrics “She could be my freckle faced fidgeter /Me but miniature”. However, the song of the night was ‘Ain’t Nothing Changed’. Sampled from Piero Umiliani’s ‘Ricordandoti’, the old school, laid back jazz instrumental is transformed into a rap ensemble about Carner’s distress about being in debt and nostalgia for his university life (“I kind of miss my student loan /I miss sitting in the student home”).
The concluding song ‘Sun of Jean’, featuring piano played by Carner’s late step father, fades out as his mother appears on the screen behind him, reciting a poem that she wrote about her son. The album itself is a sentimental ode to Carner’s family and friends, but also to his ex-lovers and non-existent biological fathers. Carner bares all with this album and he performed it with much the same passion and raw emotion as you’d expect.
Words by Lauren Ford @lau_ford