Concerts are the best. The absolute, without a doubt, best. And after you’ve been to a variety of shows, festivals, bars, lounges, and arenas, you begin to appreciate the performances that truly stand out. The ones that make your jaw drop or your skin tingle—the ones that make you shut your eyes tight and fall into the epic immediacy of live sound.
Since moving to the Bay Area I have had the privilege and pleasure of seeing some excellent live acts, each of which is unique and inspiring in their own way. Stay tuned for many upcoming Live Act reviews.
Now, you may not have heard of King Krule, aka Archy Marshall. You probably haven’t. That’s because the kid is 19, has released precisely one album (and one EP), and falls under the category of slow-blues growl-rock with deeply throated hip hop lyrics. A strange combo, to be sure.
I fell in love with 6 Feet Beneath the Moon because of the ridiculous, fast paced lyrics that Archy drops–essentially a hybrid cheeky mouthed London ruffian. But the words evoke deep callings, specifically about lost love. Wisdom from youngsters is always excellent in my book. Especially when they are fierce and said without flinch, stutter, or pause.
I grabbed tickets to see his outfit come through The Independent in San Francisco. Enter a moonlit Tuesday night. Post-burrito and one drink in, I was beyond excited to see this London teenager tear it up.
And he did. Song after song, Archy assaulted the crowd with clever rhymes, a bombastic personality and one of the tightest bands I have ever seen. He gripped his guitar like he was ready to choke it out and stood on tip-toe, wide mouth angled into the mic while he looked into the crowd without blinking.
My personal moment of musical ecstasy was in the middle of “Baby Blue”—the band crept real quiet and slow with mallets and palm mutes. Archy played a subtle, heartfelt solo that reminded me of B.B. King (he is really that good). The mellow mood was awash in sky blue lights from above and, almost effortlessly, the tempo picked up. And up. And up. And soon Archy’s eyes held danger. He brought all that slow tension to a frenzy, staring us down and egging his band into a deep frantic state.
Eyes closed, hairs raised. Go see him, and if you can’t, get his album.
Highlights: The Lizard State (video below), Baby Blue, and his single Easy Easy.
Video: King Krule – A Lizard State (Official Video)