review | loyle carner live in london

Bouquets of flowers and expressive faces filled Hammersmith’s Eventim Apollo as fans waited for British rapper Loyle Carner to grace the stage on 15 March. Despite train strikes in London, the venue was packed. The theatrical lighting captured Carner’s entrance, with energetic hands and a soothing voice, he opened with song Hate from his latest album HUGO.

It takes great skill to perform songs live with such vigour and energy as Carner. He played a setlist that pleased all eras of fans, performing tracks like Damselfly, Angel and Yesterday. Carner also took great care to connect with the audience. As the intro to Homerton, a tribute to his son, began to play the artist expressed how having a child had changed his life and becoming a dad was the greatest thing he had done. The confessional rapper is known to speak from the heart, ensured fans were looking out for each other, and used his headline show to speak about mental health and knife crime making for moments that truly touched the crowd.

Friend, writer and activist Athian Akec took to the stage for the final moments of song Blood On My Nikes featuring Wesley Joseph, ending with the line “never has so much been lost by so many because of the indecisions of so few,’ it left silence in a city full of police sirens. Carner closed the show with a heartfelt performance of songs Nobody Knows (Ladas Road) and Ottolenghi before the flashing lights of his London show drew to black. Carner’s concert showed just how powerful and necessary his voice is in London’s music scene. 

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