REVIEW: King Krule 10/21 @ Black Cat DC

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REVIEW: King Krule 10/21 @ Black Cat DC

Emily Shelton

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Photo by Maria Carrasco

If there‰’s one word I can use to describe the King Krule show at Black Cat on Saturday, it would be unexpected. Archy Marshall, who goes by the stage name of King Krule, broke from his seemingly suave and sedated image to play a powerhouse set to a buzzing crowd. The sold-out show proved to follow the angsty, dark vibe of his new album, The OOZ.

The concert opened with Show Me the Body, a New York-based hardcore band. They primed the crowd for the rough and tumble hours to come, with screaming power chords from a banjo. Some songs were stripped down to only a bass and drums, with singer Julian Cashwan Pratt thrashing and howling wildly. As a farewell, Pratt addressed the crowd, “stay free, motherfuckers.‰”

Energy only seemed to build as they waited for King Krule to finally make his appearance. And as he entered with his five-person band, the crowd roared on his behalf. The set was a mix of songs from his older albums 6 Feet Beneath the Moon and A New Place 2 Drown and tunes off of The OOZ. They were all well received by the crowd, as the most devoted fans screamed the lyrics back.

For me, the most compelling component was the sonic diversity of the set. Each member contributed to the style and tone of each song. The set ranged from rough, grungy guitar riffs to surreal saxophone solos. Each transition phased the crowd in and out of moshing and gently swaying as a single unit. The transcendental double saxophone solo was especially moving as Archy allowed the other members of his band to take the spotlight. The performances of “Easy Easy”, “Dum Surfer”, and “Baby Blue” especially stirred the crowd in different moods but the same energy.

Archy rarely addressed the crowd, and rarely even smiled. Although it may have seemed that he was disconnected from his audience, he was generous with his music rather than personality. It seemed that he had a mission to stir something within the audience rather than demanding all the attention to himself.

Photo by Maria Carrasco

King Krule has gained a cult following over the past few years. He started his mostly sold-out tour here in DC. His style of eerie, grungy, bluesy alternative resonates with a niche demographic that appears to grow on the daily. As more are drawn to something unlike anything else on the music market today, King Krule will most likely continue to experiment with unique sounds and instruments just as he has in The OOZ.

And, as the encore wrapped up, Archy exited stage just as he had entered; modestly and silently. His sudden disappearance left some shocked, some begging for a second encore. But at his roots, Archy Marshall was not sent to the music scene to be personable, but rather to push the limits of what is acceptable in the alternative scene today. Let‰’s hope he keeps up his experimentation, and his representation of all the spooky kids out there searching for an idol.

Photo by Emily Shelton