One of the most interesting artists of the 21st century darkened the doors of Leeds Beckett to celebrate his newest release Man Alive!. Flaming hair, check. Gold tooth, check. Distortion, yowling, a mystifyingly delightful dizziness, check check and check. King Krule was certainly in the building.
Under this royal pseudonym is Archy Marshall. From the birth of his baby girl, to leaving the bright lights of London after 24 years (moving to Wigan of all places), this past year has been momentous for him. To top it all off, he has just released Man Alive!, his third album as King Krule following the 2017 masterpiece The Ooz. Beloved by many, with recent appreciation coming from the likes of Kenny Beats and Jonah Hill, Archy has crafted his own untouchable nook. Featuring warped samples of city life, woozy guitar, crashing cymbals, haunted drawling and a clinical attention to detail, its clear that Archy Marshall has the Midas touch.
As to be expected from an album launch gig, there was a real mix of old and new. Kicking off with ‘Has This Hit?’ and ‘Dum Surfer’ engaged the crowd immediately. Bassist and backing vocalist James Wilson put in extra to make the latter really bounce. Following this was the bulk of new material including ‘Cellular’, ‘Perfecto Miserable’, ‘(Don’t Let the Dragon) Draag On’ and, personal fav, ‘Alone, Omen 3’. Special mention, however, must go to ‘Stoned Again’, nestled within this segment but kicking like a banshee. Killer work from drummer George Bass, heightening the raw energy of the track with heavy beats and crashing cymbals. Indeed, the frenzy of the track was unbelievably amplified. In one moment Archy actually knocked over his mic, just to pick it up to then throw it back on the floor again. If the music didn’t get the audience pumped, the sax man (Ignacio Salvadores) certainly did. When he was thrashing on stage I certainly felt dat.
And yet, regardless of the berserk energy preceding, there was an eerie calm during ‘(A Slide In) New Drugs’ and ‘The OOZ’. Dark blue back lights lit up the band, reminiscent of a dive bar at closing time, as blissful loneliness hung on to the words ‘Could we align?’. Closing the gig with ‘Baby Blue’ and ‘Easy Easy’ was a clever move, bringing everyone back together one last time. Taken from King Krule’s first project, 6 Feet Beneath The Moon, these tracks demonstrate the longevity of Archy’s talent.
This album launch, mediated by the wonderful Crash Records, was everything a live show should be. The emotions and atmospheres of the tracks were exponentially intensified. Weaving classics amongst the new engages the crowd, whilst also demonstrating the genius of an artist who has been making magic since he was 15 years old. *chefs kiss*
The verdict: A whisky sour. It’s dark, daring, bolshie and not for the faint hearted. Knock a couple back and you’ll be dizzy on the dancefloor. Get loose and let go… (─‿‿─)
Listen for yourself: