So here I am at one of King Krule two sold-out shows at KOKO, the dense crowd awaited in chatter, elevated by the intensely anticipated arrival of London born Archy Marshall.
After making my way through the crowd to the photo-pit, I felt a feeling of fatigue as if I just made it out of the Amazon. Bodies were like trees and their limbs like branches; attendees weren’t up for losing their position to see the active and edgy performer.
Starting with Has Hit Hit? There’s a shared feeling of melancholy, one that we have all experienced at one time or another. With this track being essentially a breakup song, it’s live delivery is a celebration of self-reflection and heartache.
From what was an enchantingly somber beginning Archy moves into Dum Surfer. Opening with his venomous vocality, his voice resembles one that hasn’t stopped smoking cigarettes until it sounded definitively crazed.
His five-piece band comes into their own on this one. They create a sonic collage of serpentine guitar riffs and creamy saxophone sounds. In this assemblage, King Krule and his band form a groove that sends the audience into a conker match with swinging and colliding bodies, where Archy and the group are pulling strings.
“The ups and downs, deep velvet folds The landslides in, depression poles” – In Logos Archy gives a small window into what was probably afflictions of his childhood. The mundane elevator backdrop triggers a gentle sway in the audience, we almost became passengers in Archy’s memories, moving from floor to floor of the singers emotional capacity. Once again the Saxophonist shines, the smooth and soft tone is in some ways psychedelic as if one is falling into a trippy haze.
Following a brief pause, he performs Half Man Half Shark, a track with the same style assault on your ears as punk. The ballistic merging of the guitar and drums and Archy’s voice make for a menacing, but a celestial moment.
Reaching the penthouse of King Krule’s introspection, we come to the final segment of his electric performance. Baby Blue plays like the soundtrack to a midnight sky; the dreamy guitar chords trigger moments of reflection on the evening. At this moment Archy is as fixed to the floor as he has been all evening. He’s a dear in the headlights of his melodies.
In the midst of the finale, the smoke is just about clearing from the band performing Easy Easy, one of 6 Feet Beneath The Moon stand-out tracks. With the song ending with an abrupt “thank you,” one would expect the night to be over.
Whether he intended to always come on for one more song – or the thundering chants of ARCHY, ARCHY, ARCHY – King Krule and his band came through with one more track, Out Getting Ribs. The tranquil piano keys and King Krule’s aged songwriting ability end the night with a restful energy sweeping through the room.