Review: King Krule at The Croxton Bandroom, Thornbury

12 March 2018

My eardrums were first graced by the visceral voice of Archy Marshall, AKA King Krule amongst other names, in 2013. His breakthrough album 6 Feet Beneath the Moon had just been released. My friend Max played ‘Baby Blue’ for me using his phone 3G at midnight, while we lay alone next to a public pool in Darwin. Fitting, considering the forlorn, wateriness of the record.

“Seems wrong for that sound to be coming out of a skinny, 19-year-old redhead,” I remember Max saying. I listened to the album on repeat for the rest of the year, the next as well, yet I couldn’t have ever predicted that in a few more years’ time I’d be looking Archy straight in the eyes.

The Ooz was released late last year. Listening to it on the tram with both your earphones in is like being pulled into the deep sea and coming face to face with an anglerfish. Or being beamed up to the flaming sun. Perhaps both at once. But seeing it played live was something else entirely.

In contrast to how it feels to listen to the album by myself, Krule’s gig at the Croxton was painstakingly humanoid. While his music is characterised by the sense that he believes I will never truly be able to decipher him completely, the set invited me in. Everyone else as well, I think. Immersed in the sound, we were all lonely together. I saw multiple people burst out in tears, violently singing along.

At only 23 now, Archy’s voice is ripe beyond his years. I’m unsure how something can be so simultaneously soft and stern. Visceral, as aforementioned. It sounds exactly the same live as it does recorded, as do the other elements of the music.

Though poised and contemplative, The King is an angry man. He maintained a scowl throughout the entire set. It didn’t help when a drunkard threw a cup up at him, hitting him right between his furrowed brows. “That’s some dumb fucken shit man,” he said to address the incident when he came out for an encore. I completely agree.

After the song, he dropped his guitar on the ground and stomped away. Somehow, he still oozed grace. I would have bought a ticket to his show the next night had it not been sold out as well.

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