There couldnt have been a better venue in New York City to compliment the sullen intimacy of King Krule than Bowery Ballroom. With equal parts swagger and slacker, Archy Marshall, the 19-year-old British singer-songwriter, crooned and moaned over the crowd; his poetic flow having all the virile consistency of hip-hop, sometimes digressing to the lucid lilt of freeform jazz. Marshall lulled the sold-out show to a sensitive, transfixed sublimity. Other times he would rip into joyous reservations of expansive noise, both of which had the audience reeling as he exchanged smiles and fist bumps.
Opening the set with Has This Hit?, Marshall’s grizzled melodies refracted into a million haunting shards, sounding both damaged yet beautiful. An overeager fan on the far right groaned into the air, missing the frontmans own cue and sending the venue in a fit of giggles. Marshall responded with “Ocean Bed” and “The Noose of Jah City”, eliciting a sing-a-long both sedated and overpowering, respectively. Later on, the bright-eyed chords of “Easy Easy” glazed audiences into a balmy stupor, while the backhanded optimism of “Rock Bottom” found Marshall dispelling some anxiety much to his own satisfaction.
Earlier in the day, Marshall performed at a private gig hosted by the Alife store in the Lower East Side. The set was arranged at the rear of a small, outdoor garden space temporarily overrun by chic urbanites. King Krule positioned himself a few feet away from the audience and myself, staring daggers into our souls. His face contorted with emotional sincerity, especially during a mid-set appearance of “Has This Hit?”. As he lingered ominously over the hollow chords, his eyes shimmered, threatening to expel tears of frustration. And while you couldn’t see this brand of intimacy at the Bowery, you could certainly feel it.
Has This Hit?
Portrait In Black and Blue
The Noose of Jah City
Out Getting Ribs