Loyle Carner Reflects A Force For Change In Special Royal Albert Hall Performance – Review

Harvey Marwood

By Harvey Marwood

Harvey Marwood

13 Oct 2023

Having completed all of his festival and UK/Europe dates this year, the tail end of last week saw South London’s Loyle Carner add another prestigious accolade to his repertoire of literate trophies. Headlining the world famous Royal Albert Hall in London for a very special ‘one night only’ event, the evening that transcended memorably will go down as one of the most iconic nights of his career. A venue encapsulated with atmosphere and tradition, the sold out hall hosted just under 5300 people last Friday, all of which partook in a conscious effort to create a dimensional and positive climate, collectively anticipating the performance from Carner himself. Taking to the stage just after 8:30, Loyle walked out accompanied by an extended band, establishing the ‘All The Way From The Sun Reimagined’ status with a stripped back, acoustic-at-times set that spanned just under an hour and a half.

Keeping it somewhat simplified but to maximum effect, Loyle did not get carried away with what may be the main attraction for a performance at the Royal Albert Hall; not using a full orchestra but instead adding aspects from one to his already talented band, the artist was able to make sure the message and vocals displayed in the music were not overshadowed by ‘too much’ on the instrument front. Around a dozen musicians on stage included guitarists, a drummer, string quartet and harpist – and the stage became home to a politically and morally charged life lesson throughout that, influenced by Loyle’s personal life takes one aback into a state of conscious thinking. With special guest appearances from that of Tom Misch and JNR Williams, the RAH was truly treated to an unforgettable night.

Broken up by captivating storytelling between each track, the South London native can hold a room like no other; 5000 felt like 50,000 in the moment. Visibly noticeable, the level of grip and engagement attained so effortlessly when he takes to the stage is astounding, and you can’t held but feel moved when feeling the charged emotionality behind each story. Whether it be the dialogue about the issues surrounding his father and how that has impacted his own fatherhood now before he performed “HGU” or the feature of young political speaker Athien Akec for “Blood On My Nikes” to dissect the societal issues surrounding knife crime in the country at the moment – there is no shying away from the fact that Loyle Carner as cliche as it sounds, is an artist and not a rapper. Little musicians across the world take full advantage of their platform – by seamlessly blending the fine border between political and societal issues with the popular industries, Loyle Carner helps to influence a more consciously aware population, especially amongst the youth.

The standout moment from the night for me personally, was the rare performance of “A Lasting Place”, which typically has not featured on his tour or festival setlist this year. Using the Royal Albert Hall as a live studio for a live recording of his album – Loyle had the opportunity to create a special rendition of the track, a chance he took brilliantly. Alongside the extended band, the track took a more jungle/liquid drum infused direction – a brand new ‘reimagined’ way of listening to the track. From the contrast of a very mellow and introspective track to a powerful, hard hitting atmospheric hit – the new way of hearing the track stuck with me – and that’s without the moving dialogue about the song being dedicated to his girlfriend and the hope for her understanding about his life hardship.

All in all, the night reflected Loyle Carner has a major force for change in such a lucrative music industry, and there’s no hiding from the fact that the rapper is using his platform for the best benefit. Talented and inspiration, there’s no surprise he has been able to continue growing the dedicated following that he has over the past few years – the industry needs more musicians projecting the same values and morals that Loyle does so effortlessly.

Rating : 4.5/5