King Krule, the cherub with a demon voice, rocks Paradise

Artist Archy Ivan Marshall, better known by his stage name King Krule, performing at the Melt! Festival on Jul. 19, 2013. Henry Laurisch via Wikimedia Commons

British singer and songwriter Archy Ivan Marshall, better known by his stage name of King Krule, performed at Paradise Rock Club in Allston on Oct. 26. King Krule is currently on a tour promoting his new album, “The Ooz” (2017), which is only the artist’s second studio album in his relatively young career. “The Ooz” is Marshall’s first album since 2013, when he released the critically acclaimed “6 Feet Beneath the Moon” (2013).

At the same time aggressive and soothing, the Brit’s stage presence is arguably one of the factors that have propelled his musical career in the right direction. It seems like most people share this writer’s fascination with a lanky, ginger 20-something who wears Hawaiian shirts at his performances and is capable of reaching the bottom of his listeners’ hearts with his deep, warm timbre. In concert, King Krule metaphorically bared it all on stage to reveal his true nature as a rock singer, who is at the same time heavily influenced by disparate genres like darkwave, trip hop and punk jazz.

Paradise Rock Club was packed for Marshall’s performance. While several security guards kept concertgoers from obstructing access to the emergency exits, King Krule opened the show with “Has This Hit? “(2013) and “Ceiling” (2013) right after. The first song very much set the mood for the overall experience of the concert, as most members of the audience were at least slightly inebriated. The lyrics of “Has This Hit?” reveal Marshall’s fascination with looking up at what is above him: “See / What I say / On the horizon / The skies are grey / The skies are grey.” The same motif is also explored, quite obviously, in “Ceiling,” in which the songwriter talks about the layers of paint peeling off the ceiling of his room. The feeling of staring emptily and non-soberly at the ceiling of your room is probably very relatable for many of the young people in the audience and on the Tufts campus.

As King Krule played the first notes of his third song on his guitar, many concertgoers cheered and started to sing along to the lyrics of “Dum Surfer” (2017), the first song the Brit played from his new album. It feels like in “The Ooz,” Marshall experimented with the interplay of different musical genres even further than in “6 Feet Beneath the Moon.” The singer seemed to rely less on his unique timbre and more on his ability as a musician, as evidenced by the guitar solo between the two main verses of “Dum Surfer” that lasts upwards of 30 seconds. And the choice has evidently paid off, as Metacritic has indicated “universal acclaim” for “The Ooz,” with an average critic score of 81.

Marshall compensated the relative mellowness of some other new tracks like “The Locomotive” (2017) and “Emergency Blimp” (2017) with a very aggressive, quasi-metal sound of his band on stage. It definitely feels like King Krule’s music is much more energetic and vigorous experienced in live performances than when it’s listened to on a record. Toward the end of the concert, Marshall also decided to play “Half Man Half Shark,” (2017) the third single from his new album. He then concluded with two of his most famous and celebrated songs out of his first album, “Baby Blue” (2017) and “Easy Easy” (2013) to which the crowd responded extremely well. For the encore, much to the crowd’s disappointment, it seemed, the songwriter performed “Out Getting Ribs” (2013).

The concert overall was relatively short, as King Krule only performed 13 songs from his two albums. Several people in the audience, after the encore (which only comprised of one song), were expecting the British singer to play “Borderline” (2013) or “Czech One” (2017), the first single that came out of “The Ooz,” and currently the artist’s most popular song from his second album. Paradise Rock Club as a venue was quite lacking and probably not the most apt for concerts, as two huge pillars impeded a full vision of the stage. Despite the inadequacy of the venue and a short set list, King Krule put on a strong performance and displayed tremendous growth as an artist.


Despite the inadequacy of the venue and a short set list, King Krule put on a strong performance and displayed tremendous growth as an artist.

4 stars