Loyle Carner’s Cantona Tour was coined from the hot-headed Manchester United striker who infamously kung-fu kicked a fan to the face, the name being a throw back to stone-age football hooliganism and abusive crowd chanting. Whilst the rapper’s show at Plug tonight has elements of these, stopping his set to break up a punch-up before lapping up an array of football-style chants, the Cantona Tour is more sentimental than meets the eye.
Carner, real name Ben Coyle-Larner, gathers the crowd around him and waves the Cantona shirt he’s had draped over him like it’s show and tell time. It was his late father’s shirt and a symbol of hope which rings strong throughout his set. Whilst Carner at times seems like he has the weight of the world on his young shoulders, it never at once feels like he’s doing this out of self-indulgence. ‘Cantona’ is the poem written for his father after he passed, ‘Stars and Shards’ sheds light on an old friends’ troubles and he reveals that ‘Florence’ was written for his mother who wanted a daughter. “We’re adopting a little girl now” he beams, the crowd whooping as if they’ve come on this emotional journey with him.
His DJ Rebel Kleff joins in for ‘The Money’ as Carner puts his heart on his sleeve: “Damn, I need to make some money for my fam” before lurching into a freestyle, “Not enough people freestyle anymore!” he chuckles. Quips to the audience continue as he urges them not to tell Tom Misch about their new sleek lounge track he’s premiering on the tour and laughs “I do miss my student loan!” after the opening line in ‘Ain’t Nothing Changed’.
By the time the thick Tarantino-esque riffs flick through ‘NO CD’ Carner, Kleff and the crowd are one, bouncing in unison and whilst he may not want to get to ahead of himself, this will always be the tour that brought the masses to Loyle Carner.
Photo by Ethan Weatherby.