KING KRULE + STANDING ON THE CORNER @ THE EL REY THEATRE
Photos by David Fisch Words by Zach Bilson.
King Krule is a contradiction. His music leans obscure and evasive, but Archy Marshall is as warm and open a personality as you’ll get. Luckily, his live audiences get more of the latter, and his triumphant El Rey set was an astounding showcase of a young artist eager to share his vision with the world. From the one-two punch of 6 Feet Beneath the Moon’s “Easy Easy” and “Ceiling,” it was clear we were in front of a man who knew exactly what he was doing – namely, getting a sold-out crowd to groove to heady, complex tunes. Whispers turned to screams, confessionals to sing-a-longs, and in the case of The Ooz standout “Logos,” an anxious dirge turned to a couples’ anthem. Sure, it’s easy to think his fans might be attracted to the rail-thin London poet for aesthetic reasons, but when “this is written about a reptile from three perspectives” (for “A Lizard State”) elicits deafening roars, you’ve got to hand it to the guy- he’s found a perfect balance of poignant putridity, and people are genuinely loving it. Get used to Marshall, because he’ll likely be pushing buttons for years to come.
If there’s any “ideal” opener for King Krule’s chameleonic soup, it just might be Brooklyn’s own Standing On The Corner, whose blend of saxophone, jazzy guitar, and dub-influenced beats wooed the patient El Rey early in the evening. Gio Escobar’s abstract lyricism and auto-tuned melodies made for an intriguing lead voice – simultaneously confrontational and elusive, less a frontman than a skilled player of a homemade instrument. His crew’s disorienting mix of free jazz and lush r&b sent a handful of folks to the smoking patio, but most of the crowd was frozen in their tracks, soaking in the gorgeous chaos.