The room is already half full when South London’s Filthy Boy emerge from a tangle of black curtains behind the stage. Picking up their instruments like they’ve done this a thousand times before, they exude an air of confidence not typical for a relatively young band. While hardly ground breaking, their indie-rock production combined with a gritty ‘60s edge is, at the very least, enjoyable. Their musicianship is tight and the booming vocals almost seem smug – but it fits. All twangy guitars, their brand of storytelling appears to be a fair success with the crowd and it’s safe to say that they leave the stage with a few more fans under their belt.
There’s a buzz in the air when the time comes for King Krule’s set to begin. A sold-out crowd waits excitedly for the BBC Sound of 2013 nominee, and it’s easy to see why once he starts playing. There isn’t a note out of place, from the singer-songwriter or from his band. He sounds gutsier live than on record while retaining the intricacy of his indie-blues infusion. Resonant and expressive, his baritone voice hits you in the chest with deeply personal confessions of growing up troubled, and it’s easy to forget that this is coming from a man who is only 19 himself. The real sing-a-long comes during ‘Easy Easy’ as the crowd, who have otherwise been calmly fixated on Archy Marshall’s every word, springs to life. He seems unfazed by the adoring audience watching as he bobs about the stage as if he truly feels every song he performs, and quietly grateful during the roar of applause between each and every song. The King Krule material is poetry interwoven with dissonance and empty space, classy in its execution, and he seems proud of his art. As he should, too, as tonight proves that he has established his own style and developed it more successfully than artists twice his age. The show is a victory and as he exits the stage, we can be sure that we’ll be seeing him play to a much bigger room next time around.