King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard at SO36 review

Screenshot of King Gizzard's Gamma Knife video

On tour promoting their eighth album Nonagon Infinity, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s seven members played one of the most misleading sets a garage act could come up with. It consists primarily of songs taken from Nonagon Infinity and 2014’s excellent I’m In Your Mind Fuzz, yet they manage to play for an hour and a half almost non-stop.

People were drenched, even the experienced. The most hardcore-looking individuals had the thousand-yard stare about half-way through the set. This was intense, even more so than Thee Oh Sees’ concert the previous Saturday. The two bands are connected, with two of the Lizards albums released through John Dwyer’s Castle Face in the US. The venue, SO36, certainly played a role in that it is rather narrow, yet deep. People fought for placement, and the front rows were soon overcrowded, making it impossible to get any more forward ten minutes before the band even started playing.

KG&LW (It’s much too long) are a seven piece act and there are some peculiar, notable elements about them. The rhythm section consists of two drum sets, a bass and two or three guitars depending on the section they’re playing. At times, frontman Stu Mackenzie plays a 12-string guitar, then leaving it for a 6-string, but finally he also drops guitar work altogether and picks up his flute. But the strangest is perhaps the harmonica which plays an essential role in transitions between songs, leading the way and allowing the guitarists time to retune their instruments.

So much energy emanates from the stage and reverberates back from the crowd. What can you say when the concert is basically two songs chopped and mixed up over the course of an hour and a half. Twenty minute songs with no respite between them are all it takes to finish off someone. But King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard also explore different periods of musical history during their set, psychedelic rock, garage, speedy Mötorhead riffs, yet adding a bit of jazz and bossa to spice things up.

The whole concert felt like space travel and whatever the guys in “Interstellar” were aiming for. Strike out the whole plan to repopulate a distant planet using only Anne Hathaway (being sent in outer space by her own father with three dudes). I’m thinking about how entering a black hole will lead you to another point, that fifth dimension shit. King Gizzard started their concert with the Nonagon Infinity suite, lapsing into I’m In Your Mind’s and ended by going back to those after an intense middle section. Was good.

Review by Patrick Bird

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