He walked in with a toy Bengal tiger tucked under his arm, the tint of which matched his bright orange hair to a T. Wearing a suit and tie that looked a touch too large for his skin and bones, King Krule put on a show at the Rock & Roll Hotel on Friday night that left the stage bursting at its seams yet was tailored to the intimacy of the space.
Neither the stormy weather nor the delayed set times could faze the sold-out crowd, which swooned to King Krule’s growls at every turn.
Archy Marshall is only 19, but you’d never know it listening to his debut album “6 Feet Beneath the Moon,” which was released in August. The British rocker’s voice has been compared to those of Billy Bragg and Edwyn Collins, and he shows the maturity of a well-worn rock star.
King Krule’s lyrical content is similarly precocious: love songs from a weary heart, disillusionment, doubt and the blues. He built an online following a few years back by releasing several bedroom-made EPs. Now, he’s receiving nominations for honors such as “The BBC Sound of 2013” and selling out clubs in the States.
King Krule’s grown-up delivery is his most striking feature, but right behind it is his swagger. When his backing band — which mostly sounded tight and well-rehearsed — ran into little glitches onstage, Krule kept his composure and ironed out the wrinkles.
King Krule even stayed cool when a fan screamed a complimentary profanity between songs. He just paused, choked down a smirk and said: “We love you, too, man. . . . This is a song about reptiles,” before dropping into an explosive rendition of his “A Lizard State.”
Whether roaring or purring his lyrics, King Krule’s voice crackled warmly against the back of his throat as he sang with potent clarity. The Bengal tiger onstage looked tame by comparison.
Yenigun is a freelance writer.