Loyle Carner - O2 City Hall newcastle - 23rd february 2023
Take these words, tonight and move forward
...spoken by the very lips of Loyle Carner himself.
Known for his charisma as a lyricist, artist and leader in the UK music scene, after much anticipation Loyle Carner was back in the region for his UK headline tour. Taking place at the O2 City Hall in Newcastle, music fans turned up in their hundreds, with queues going as far as the eye could see as they prepared themselves for a night of live music the Loyle Carner way.
There are always those moments in life where just based on the energy alone, as you read the room and the body language of the people around you, that you just know you are in for one hell of a good time, and just being right in the heart of the venue I could already tell that this was guaranteed to be one of those nights.
Now granted that hip-hop is not usually my thing, but the very fact that having seen him once before some in 2017 where his show made lasting impression as one of my all time favourite shows in this past decade, was the only reason I needed to make sure I don’t let this opportunity to see him live again pass me by.
Back in 2017 for a lot of Loyle’s fans they would have been in their mid to late teens, maybe even a bit younger, but fast forward 6 years later those same fans now older and on the cusp of finding their way in the world, were also back showing that same level of admiration and loyalty that they had in day 1. A powerful and unbreakable bond filled with love and respect!
As the lights go down to reveal Loyle’s stage, consisting of mood ambient lighting and a lamppost (yes you heard right) the set begins with Hate, the perfect opener for this Geordie crowd. The very presence of Loyle Carner and his fellow band mates (even just after one song) is enough to take anyone to a state of ecstasy. This is followed up with Plastic taken from his latest album hugo, which sees fans wasting no time and joining in as they sing along in unison.
Taking a moment to finally say greet the Newcastle crowd, you can really feel the love in the room. While Loyle may not be local, it still feels like this night is a second home coming as he returns to a city which he has such a abundance of admiration for.
As the night continues Loyle takes the crowd on a journey treating the audience to some of the classics such as Let It Go from 2020, to back even further to some of his earlier helpings from the Yesterday’s Gone album.
While I did love those tracks, what I was looking forward to the most was exploring more of his newest material, and from what I witnessed my gratitude for Loyle Carner has increased ten folder. As a songwriter it is evident that he has come along leaps and bounds instilling such heart, soul and passion in to his music to create the perfect equation for any Loyle Carner fan. What’s more this show, this tour is just a further extension of that same aura.
If I had to pick a favourite from the new record that was performed on the night I would probably put Blood On My Nikes up there of my favourites as emotively it is just so profound and raw. It’s the type of song that really gets inside your head and makes you think.
With the night continuing, as many know Loyle has an endearing love for his own family, as above anything family means life. Paying thanks to that constant love in his life , his mum.
Loyle’s greatest strength is how he able to share his life candidly with his audience because he knows that it’s a safe space and there may be someone out in the crowd get a sense of feeling like they are not alone because Loyle knows what this world be like as he has walked through things as similar to you.
With the music resuming and the night almost drawing to a close there was still time for more great live music with a soulful performance of Ain’t Nothing Changed, the wholesomeness of Loose Ends and the energy and good vibes of HGU. A nod to his recent re-connection with his birth father, HGU takes all those hurts and absent moments and turns them into forgiveness which encompasses the purity of Loyle Carner.
Having given one of the most profound live shows anyone could ever witness, to chants of the crowd Loyle and the band returned to the stage one more time with Ottolenghi, the perfect end of what has been an undeniably memory night by all.
Loyle Carner, his band and us music fans left that night with one thing in common - a heart full of love and looking forward to the day of being reunited again once more.
Article By Thushara S. Chandrasiri, Photography By Storm Walker