Great Hall, Cardiff University Students Union, Tue 5 Nov
After the long-anticipated wait for his second album, it’s safe to say that Cardiff was more than ready for a Loyle Carner appearance. And he did not disappoint.
I first saw Carner during his debut album tour in Southampton. Back then his performance was stripped back and raw, highlighting the poignancy of his message. This time, Carner shows us another crevice of his mind, with a stage designed to replicate a bedroom, decorated with football shirts, vinyl and a writing-worthy armchair. The quintessence of any artist’s happy place.
Greeted by screams, claps and cheers, Carner jumped straight into his performance, getting the crowd warmed up with Ice Water. From here on out, every track was delivered with conviction, with Carner captivating the crowd with his warm and soulful presence. Weaving old bangers like Ain’t Nothing Changed with tracks from latest album Not Waving, But Drowning like Dear Jean, Carner also gave testimonials to Not Waving… collaborators who happen to be some of the UK’s most prolific artists right now – Tom Misch, Sampha and Jorja Smith to name a few.
The night drew in a dedicated crowd of fans committed to rapping every word they knew and clinging on to the quiet during more sentimental spoken word and a capella parts. What is most notable is Carner’s ability to maintain a ridiculous amount of energy throughout the whole show, only slowing down to share stories about the origin of his songs. One that specifically stood out is Looking Back, concerning his experience of growing up having very little contact with his dad and being told that he is from Ghana – “but really it’s Guyana”. Loyle Carner has mastered the story of his life as well as the ability to be publicly vulnerable, which I think is something we could all learn from.
words SARAH MORGAN photos DALI POULSOM