Opening for King Krule was another (in his own words) red-headed, white guy with guitar in the form of Pond’s Nick Allbrook. Playing a fairly rare solo set he showed he doesn’t necessarily need a full band around him to convey the strength of his writing and enigmatic stage presence. Playing guitar over rhythm-section loops Allbrook balanced hip hop beats with a psych and yacht rock guitar sound and it all worked intriguingly well. His voice was the thing that drew most of the audience in with its Lennon via Mercury Rev mix of raspy rawness and angelic falsetto and it was nice to see an artist sounding as interesting solo as he does in his various ensembles.
King Krule is touring with Laneway Festival which presumably means daytime playing times so a sold out evening show was a tantalising prospect for his poetic nightlife musings. Backed by a three piece band Krule set about recreating much of his breakthrough album 6 Feet Beneath The Moon and for the most part it worked well. His trademark mouthful of Billy Bragg, Paul Weller and Libertines vocal stylings sounded emphatic and confident across songs like the anthemic Easy Easy, the smoky, low-key Baby Blue and the tripped-out Ceiling while physically Krule bounced around like a boxer waiting in his corner, throwing MC gestures and engaging in half-smiled moments with his band. Though they were all superb players the acid jazz/funk treatment the song were given on stage did unfortunately have the side-effect of homogenising many of the songs. The subtleties, atmosphere and electronic aspects of his album weren’t there. It didn’t make for a bad show, it was still very good, but it too often highlighted what was missing.
this review was first published in The Music