The beasts who boogie
Review: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard at the Roundhouse in Sydney
BY NICHOLAS ELMITT
There is always a buzz in the crowd leading up to a King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard show. Fans are always keen to chat, speculating on what the set list will be. With 14 albums under their belt since 2012, and a 15th due for release in August, they have plenty of material to choose from.
Despite their eclectic back catalogue, I was pleased they opened with a new track off their forthcoming album Infest the Rats’ Nest. That pleasure quickly became tinged with nervousness as a death pit formed in front of me. I was able to avoid it for the most part, but it was clear that I was in for a wild show.
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard (as the fans call them) are a hard band to pin down. The genre-spanning seven piece from Melbourne includes two drummers, but every member is a multi-instrumentalist. Famous for releasing five albums in 2017, fans were naturally excited when their first album since then was released in March this year. Fishing for Fishies was a ‘blues-boogie-shuffle-kinda-thing’ – a catchy album with an environmental message about the risks of overfishing and plastic in the ocean. Despite the playful songs, few were surprised when the Gizz decided to follow this up with thrash metal. That’s just what they do.
Another of their many talents is weaving their many musical styles into one coherent 90 minute concert. At the second of their two student shows, they did not disappoint.
After playing three tracks of thrash metal, including their most recent single Organ Farmer, the Gizz played a couple of classics, including the ever popular slow jam Work This Time. I was grateful for the change in pace, but I knew it would be temporary.
The beats picked up and they launched into Cyboogie, a funky synth-fueled banger. They weaved in a few of my personal favourites including parts of Altered Beast from the Murder of the Universe concept album, and the driving microtonal beats of Rattlesnake.
The Gizz then turned back to their upcoming album to close the set. The audience were panting almost as hard as the band at the end of Self Immolate.
The show was one of my musical highlights of the year. Fantastic all round musical performances matched by the psychedelic light show and lead singer Stu McKenzie’s trademark stage gymnastics. The Roundhouse at UNSW was an excellent venue, with great acoustics, for such a dynamic show.
Gizz Fans know not to hope for their favourite tracks because each show is unique, taking bits and pieces from their expansive catalogue. Some find the breadth of work intimidating and give the Gizz a pass (some are also put off by the name), but in my experience there are always a few Gizz songs that will fit your taste, no matter what.
The Gizz are constantly touring, so don’t worry if you miss them this time because they will be hitting the road again within the next 12 months. I highly recommend you check them out.
Nicholas Elmitt is an AMA Policy Adviser.
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Published: 12 Jul 2019