King Krule Played a Wicked Pop-Up Show in a Chinese Restaurant

King Krule Played a Wicked Pop-Up Show in a Chinese Restaurant

Just after the announcement of his upcoming album "The OOZ," King Krule played a secret show in the unlikeliest of places: a dim sum joint.

Just after the announcement of his upcoming album "The OOZ," King Krule played a secret show in the unlikeliest of places: a dim sum joint.

Text: Sadie Bell

On Saturday night, New York skate-punks, DIY Brooklynites, and nightlife socialites flocked to a seedy Chinese restaurant in lower Manhattan. Under the mask of a midnight moon, the Cantonese and Sichuan establishment China Chalet transformed into a caustically uncool-yet-cool club for an intimate King Krule concert, drawing a sold-out, secret pop-up crowd ahead of the English band’s release of The OOZ.

Amongst the kitsch of the restaurant furnished with chandeliers, greenery, and gaudy neon lights bouncing off the haze of cigarette smoke, King Krule gave a wicked, brilliant performance driven by frontman Archy Marshall’s perilous grit. Exuding an effortless style from behind the shade of slim, pink sunglasses, Marshall and his band radiated the street swagger of an “I don’t care” attitude like the London youths they are—simply too busy caring about the music to lend attention to anything else.

Though almost a month ahead of King Krule’s forthcoming album release date on October 13, the band played a set featuring new tracks and old favorites from Marshall’s extensive discography. Following an enchanting opening set from up-and-comer Mizan, King Krule kicked off the show with “Has This Hit?” and Marshall enveloped the body-to-body packed crowd at the back of the restaurant in his deep rasp, gradually pulling them to a buoyant bounce as the anticipating rhythm built and the horn section exploded. Immediately after, the band transitioned into “Ceiling,” exhibiting their soulful range in musicality—their sheer focus as an act, speaking as few words between songs as possible. Like the rash youth they exemplify, they were there to throw punches, take what they aimed to, and nothing more.

Later, the crowd was excited to hear a live rendition of King Krule’s most recent single, “Dum Surfer,” bringing energy only upwards as the dark track followed an angry rap over heavy jazz-influenced guitar work. Despite the room’s inevitable sway early on, when Marshall snarled, “This next song is about reptiles,” and the audience prepared themselves for “A Lizard State,” they fell into a mania with nearly every body exuberantly dancing into one another, hypnotized by the pointed horn and percussive sounds from the band. From song to song, Marshall and his live band played with concentration, devoted to their progressive, jazz-based craft and proved the power their transformative sound could have over even a New York cool kid crowd.

Into the early morning, the set evolved into a preview of The OOZ tracks, each encapsulating the harshness of the English fusion project, erupting in angry vocals as Marshall evaluated the disgust in the world while his crew played aggressive, jangly tunes.

While King Krule brought the crowd into his anxiously brooding world, he closed out his performance with thoughtful 6 Feet Beneath the Moon favorites like “Baby Blue” and “Easy Easy,” which lit up the dim sum joint in a climax of the instrumentation of the artistically odd, grimy group.

As the new record The OOZ is set to explore bodily fluids and all that is dirty in our own reality, King Krule royally brought China Chalet to this rough place, and everyone effectively fell ill to it; a scene of sweaty bodies furiously moving out of sync with one another under the blood red light of flickering neon signs.

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