King Krule enters the Hammersmith Apollo stage to an army of adoring fans.
Judging by the demographic of the crowd it’s clear that the Peckham based artist transcends the boundaries of genre, ranging from elements of Punk and Jazz all the way through to Hip-Hop, as evidenced by his appearance on RATKING’s ‘So Sick Stories’ back in 2014.
While there is a fair amount of the corduroy crowd in the venue, there was also a suggestion of a diverse fanbase that mirrors his musical tendencies.
The diminutive figure, real name Archy Marshall, is anything but diminutive on stage, becoming a commanding presence with his rasping vocals and thoughtful, introspective lyricism. Opening with ‘Perfecto Miserable’ and ‘Alone, Omen 3’ from his Man Alive! project, King Krule establishes a rapport with the crowd early, which is only exacerbated by his rendition of ‘Dum Surfer’ which brings the energy levels to a new peak.
In what is a monster setlist, spanning over 2 hours and 24 songs, the artist shows composure and assuredness as he effortlessly works his way through, set against a backdrop that resembled the artwork for his latest project, Space Heavy.
Krule plays the majority of the new album, which explores mellow and melancholic soundscapes with harder hitting cuts punctuating the tracklist, as the artist weaves seamlessly between tempos whilst still retaining the focus of the crowd.
Halfway through the artist is joined on stage by Tara Lily, who brings a variation to the evening, dueting with Krule on ‘Empty Stomach Space Cadet’ and ‘That Is My Life, That Is Yours’. This breaks up the set list nicely, as the back end of the show features a host of fan favourites from King Krule’s earlier projects, including ‘Easy Easy’ and ‘Baby Blue‘ from 6 Feet Beneath The Moon, which celebrated its ten year anniversary earlier this year. These tracks capture some standout moments from the night, connecting everyone in the crowd and creating a wild atmosphere in the process.
As Krule closes out his set with tracks ranging from the more gloomy ‘Airport Antenatal Airplane’ and ‘If Only It Was Warmth’ all the way through to the heavier sounds of ‘Rock Bottom’ and the experimental conclusion to ‘It’s All Soup Now’, the artist has more than shown an ability for versatility. His band’s part to play in this cannot be underestimated either, especially the brass instrumentation which breathes new life into the setlist.
After coming back out for an emphatic encore of ‘Out Getting Ribs’ from his early Zoo Kid moniker, King Krule exited the stage for a second time to rapturous applause. All too often it can feel that the bare minimum has gone into gigs in regards to effort and production from the artist, but that cannot be said of Krule.
An impressive setlist that is backed up by an incredible balance of poise and ferocity, this really did feel like a magnum opus for King Krule, who has established himself as an inescapable influence in the alternative space.
Photo credit: Josh Renaut