April 13, 2019
Having emerged as what appealed to an appreciative underground audience as a neofolky, luciferian lone-troubadour, TJ Cowgill, the man behind the moniker of King Dude has evolved to become an entity that still wears its DNA on its sleeve yet has carefully calibrated a shift towards appealing to a wider audience.
Given the often constrictive confines of underground music, it is something that I welcome with open arms and it would have been great to see the man again accompanied by a full band as part of the upcoming Dark Mofo Festival, but him in the purest form backed by only one constituent got the job done tonight.
2019 sees King Dude holding court in a gloomy folk incarnation that is accentuated by heavier post-punk elements, whose dynamics help to elevate the yarns that Cowgill spins as he lets the audience partake in him meandering through shadowy realms and heavily drawing on hedonist motifs and religious imagery.
It might be my own interpretation of King Dude, but what makes it more appealing to me than his often lacklustre peers is that his tongue seems to be firmly buried in cheek. Along with the fact that a facet of self-conscious humour reverberates through his oeuvre without a care if it falls on fertile ground with the recipients of his emissions, it adds a refreshing layer of idiosyncrasy.
A fulminant evening paying homage to everything gloomy, haunting and dark yet infused with a gritty alt-country-rockishness and other Americana that result in a refreshing groovy vibe and catchiness that made the performance enjoyable for more reasons than mere aesthetics.
In layman’s terms, this is the perfect soundtrack for a sleazy strip club and tonight’s performance was testament to the fact that the Armageddon Gigolo has a lot more to offer than the stereotypes of the genre he originally emerged from would have you think.
You do want to experience King Dude.
Photos by @k.a.vv