After touring his seminal album, 6 Feet Beneath the Moon, King Krule (also known as Archy Marshall, Edgar the beatmaker, DJ JD Sports) retreated from the stage and from most forms of public life. Residing in an ever-changing London he set to work on the difficult second album, trawling through fan mail and recruiting a busking saxophonist to help pull him above the creative rut that followed his early musical successes. The release of The OOZ and the subsequent announcement of tour therefore was a shock to the system of many fans.
Through the long queue and into the venue there runs a common feeling of anticipation, everyone understanding the rarity of the occasion. Obongjayar open up for Krule and expose the waiting crowd to some world music styles, infused with London’s contemporary electric sound, injecting us with energy. The band leaves the stage to the tune of rapturous applause and sincere admiration.
After a long wait, with a few false alarms, Archy and the band eventually take to the stage and begin immediately, the crashing cymbals of ‘Has This Hit’ colliding with the subsiding screams of the audience. This first song was released under the early moniker Zoo Kid and perhaps intentionally, lets us know that we WILL be hearing all the oldies and goodies, not just a run through of The OOZ. Again without pause for stage chat, the band tear into ‘Lizard State’, starting a mass impromptu mosh pit and ruining the efforts of anyone who fought their way to the front of the warehouse venue.
Not really one for stage chat, Marshall lets the music talk, occasionally giving the odd song the quickest of introductions. “This one’s about healthcare’ he says for Emergency Blimp and “This one’s about … the sky”, before a stunning rendition of Baby Blue, just as heartfelt as the original recording sounds. This is something that really stood out for me, despite Krule’s generally blasé attitude on stage he sang and played each song with the gravity it deserved, even the tracks released at the age of 15 under his Zoo Kid moniker. While some people place him as a lofty and prophetic, perhaps otherworldly songwriter, his genuine gratitude for the full to capacity Motion crowd shone through and he seemed to be level and calm performing this new album to us. Maybe he was even calmed by the gig too, gauging the reactions of the Bristolian crowd to the new material and to his returned presence too.
And the reactions were great too, the single Dum Surfer causing the first few metres of crowd space to shift violently around the venue. The quieter and gentler songs are adored too, respectful silence given to ‘A Slide In (New Drugs)’ and a whole crowd in awe for the incredible, despair filled atmosphere created by a screamed vocal performance on title track ‘The Ooz’. Leaving the stage for a brief time, the crowd were allowed to catch a collective breath before Archy returned solo, armed with only a guitar to deliver another song from his 2010-bandcamp era, ‘Out Getting Ribs’. After mustering up some more top quality stage banter ‘My nan used to live near Bristol…’, the song then plays out in all its melancholic beauty before the final thrashing of chords and we file out of the venue filled with the glee of getting to relive every memory attached to the songs played on the night. Until next time, Krule still reigns King.