King Krule Plays Bowery Ballroom In ’80s School Dance Chic

King Krule plays at Bowery Ballroom.
Photo: Jon Snyder

Certain New York evenings are significant and judging by my Instagram feed from last night, loads of people had heaps of fun at the DKNY 25th anniversary party held down at Wall Street. But further uptown, at Bowery Ballroom, I went to see 19-year-old Archy Marshall, a.k.a. King Krule, play to a packed but intimate crowd upon the release of his debut album 6 Feet Beneath the Moon. It was mind-bogglingly, face-meltingly pleasurable. The kid is really important.

Cast in a soft violet light, the flame-topped, gangly Brit arrived onstage promptly at ten and didn’t say much at all outside of singing or introducing his songs. It was all, “this one’s about living under the sea,” or else “this one’s about the sky,” which seemed exactly right for someone responsible for this season’s most depressing, profoundly English tunes.

Since this is a style site I’ll leave the music reviewing to others but I will say that a great place to start (for the uninitiated) is to watch the “Easy Easy” video on repeat because it’s perfect for fall in that it’s. Just. Gutting. It’s wistful but hopeful and you feel like you’ve missed everything already. And if you’ve been on a fashion week bender, you might as well have a good, self-indulgent cry so you can leech out some of the crazier-making caffeine and vestigial alcohol shambling in your system.

I will, however, remark on a great many other things about King Krule in the form of 23 things I learned last night about Archy since I got to actually see him IRL in a small venue which happens so rarely these days.

23. His voice feels like the air inside of a cave.

22. When a cavernous voice is expelled from a pinched, pale, fist-sized face it’s haunting in a way that makes you pay attention. Especially when he says little else and yet his jaw UNHINGES like a snake eating a hen’s egg when he sings.

21. His voice is so gorgeous that you’re sort of surprised his mouth is filled with teeth. They seem superfluous.

20. Archy Marshall is sexy. This makes you finally appreciate that one Nicole Kidman movie where she falls in love with a baby because this ginger was born in the mid-90s whereas you were born in the late-70s.

19. He has that jolie laide (which for a boy might should be joli laid? IDK) thing which when apparent in the very young is heartbreaking in some way. Raw and magnetic. It makes you feel vaguely protective.

18. This performance was special and I hope it was taped for posterity because it will become the footage we’ll refer to when we discuss how precocious he was in twenty years time.

17. King Krule is painfully thin with a penchant for oversized blazers, baggy trousers and shirts buttoned up all the way which is so exquisitely throwback that you can’t help but imagine him in banded collars. You also suspect he may be one of those rare breeds who would actually look good in a, WAIT FOR IT, bolo. With perfect-circle sunglasses.

King Krule plays at Bowery Ballroom.
Photo: Jon Snyder

16. The broad-lapel blazer + loose-fitting trouser + striped shirt with a wee chain he wore last night could most accurately be described as vintage “school dance chic.” Or “sixth form formal chic” if you’re English.

15. He hasn’t learned what to do with his arms when he’s not playing guitar while he’s singing. Mashing a hand into the patch pocket of his enormous maroon blazer works but only for a while. Swinging it awkwardly also works because it is so endearing it makes you crazy.

14. His grandparents were at Bowery Ballroom last night. His grandmother’s BESTIE is from Long Island and her name is Robin and she also finds Archy attractive. She’s insanely proud that the kid sold the show out as quickly as he had.

13. Archy sings looking straight into the middle of the room with somewhat dead eyes and he looks really, really other-wordly and serious until you can see his lips squirming at certain points where he’s patently trying not to smile.

12. Sometimes he reminds you a bit of Tilda Swinton. Similarly, if there were a fake Archy Marshall Twitter account filled with disaffected youth-type musings I would follow it so hard.

11. When the music drop for a moment and he makes his low voice do that shudder thing you can feel all the air being sucked out of the room.

10. This is about the time a dude will yell, “Archy, my girlfriend says, ’What’s up?” because it’s that hot and everybody knows it.

9. The crowd was comprised of a WHOLE BUNCH OF GIRLS because if someone said, Hey, do you want to see a young Morrissey or else a brand-new Tom Waits, you say yes.

King Krule plays at Bowery Ballroom.
Photo: Jon Snyder

8. Your boy would look great in pleated pants. Even dicey silk ones. GOOD GOD he may even look good in a vest and I don’t think I’ve said that about ANYONE EVER.

7. King Krule’s face is timeless. Sometimes it looks like a mugshot from the sixties. Other times he looks like the poster child for the potato famine. This effect is perfect for editorial work.

6. I would kill to see this guy in a KTZ campaign. Especially if they highlighted how pale his eyelashes are. He should also do a Prada campaign.

5. King Krule says words like, “feel the heat of my own treason” and you die. And when he sings “when positivity seems hard to reach/I keep my head high and my mouth shut,” you would give the kid your last Rolo.

4. You’re reminded of how specifically New York moments like these are. When a crowd is split distinctly into hardcore, early-adopter fans and MUSIC INDUSTRY TYPES and there’s a jockeying proprietary thing going on where people seem to want ownership of the intimacy. Since we know so little about him at this point, this amounts to yelling out his government name uselessly but also gleefully. It’s thrilling to call him Archy. It’s fake chummy and satisfying.

3. Mostly it’s because it’s just unmistakable that this kid is about to be F*** OFF FAMOUS and he’s so damned cool and special that we’re all working to ingratiate ourselves. Seriously, it’s magic when this happens. It’s like that Samantha Jones SATC thing: “First the gays, then the girls, then the Industry.”

2. Last night was the step where the girls and the industry overlap. Except with the extra distinction of jaded industry types betraying their dorky enthusiasm for something new and very real. That’s when you know it’s about to be a JUGGERNAUT.

1. King Krule’s ears are asymmetrical.

Buy his album and eat all his EPs.

Like us on Facebook so we can be friends and follow us on Twitter @MTVstyle to talk.