King Krule @ The Refectory, 23/11

From Zoo Kid to King Krule, to Archy Marshall and back to King Krule again. Marshall’s rich and distinctive sound has captivated us under many pseudonyms since 2010. His voice, textured with a South East London accent, has a soulful depth far beyond his years. You could remark that Marshall is ‘the archetypal city boy’. Despite the nuances and generalization of the label, it’s a pretty good way to describe King Krule.

When you picture the city, ideas of modernity, diversity and progression spring to mind. These qualities are well reflected in his music. Marshall himself represents a progressive masculinity; his lyrics poetically express an emotional vulnerability that challenges the archaic male ideal of ‘boys don’t cry!’. Love and relationships for Marshall are often a source of disappointment and frustration; things don’t always go as smoothly as he’d hope and I think this honesty appeals to a lot of young men today.

Image: Babajide Tikare

The city is a tapestry woven together by different cultures. Diversity is also a core theme in Marshall’s sound, his dynamic combination of jazz influences and hip hop rhythms whilst retaining a minimalist, melancholy element to his guitar is nothing short of masterful. His fusion of genres, best showcased in new releases like ‘Midnight 01 (Deep Sea Diver)’ and ‘Biscuit Town’ but just as prevalent in older tracks like ‘Out Getting Ribs’ and ‘Border Line’, contributes to his elevated city boy status.

Marshall has a dedicated following. The fact the gig — which finally took place in The Union Refectory — had to be upgraded twice in terms of venue to accommodate demand is the proof within the pudding. The performance was true to sound and utterly charming, in between songs Marshall even took a moment to admit “I’ve never been to uni, but I guess I’ve been now,” and the audience jeered in affection.

The setlist was well balanced between 6 Feet Beneath the Moon and his new album The OOZ. I was a little afraid Marshall’s voice wouldn’t translate that well live because of its unique and complex qualities, but I was more than happy to eat my words. His voice was just as smooth, mesmerising and honeyed as it always is on record.

Leah Dolan


Images by Babajide Tikare (Instgram: @Tikas97)