London jumps headfirst into the Gizzverse with the Aussie psyche soldiers
Their creativity is famously difficult to keep up with. Last year alone, psychedelic genre-hoppers King Gizzard & the Lizard announced three surprise albums, adding to their whopping total of twenty-three full-length releases since 2012.
The band’s rapid stream of releases has kept their trajectory heading towards cult status, sucking in more and more fans into their multi-genre universe with each new album. Likened to the ever-eclectic, experimental Ween, King Gizz have even adopted a similar work ethic. But whereas Dean Ween once jokingly claimed “it’s quantity, not quality” that matters, the same cannot be said for the frenetic Aussie trippers.
Given the 10,000-strong crowd of freaks and geeks packing every corner of Alexandra Palace, proof of their continued quality was in the proverbial pudding. The six-piece have come some way since their debut London show at hallowed Hackney venue The Shacklewell Arms at the tail end of 2014 (despite barely being able to fit on the stage).
Originally relocated from Brixton Academy, where they’d intended to perform across two nights under the premise of no replays, there’s always an element of King Gizz’s setlists being a lucky dip. Tonight, they shifted the dial towards face-melting psychedelic metal, blasting off with ‘Gaia’ – the nearest they’ve ever sounded to prog-metal pioneers Tool – after lead singer Stu Mackenzie instructed everyone to “get f*cking lit”. And everyone duly obliged.
Without stopping for breath the band immediately dipped back into 2016’s Nonagon Infinity, playing the album’s first three tracks, ‘Robot Stop’, ‘Big Fig Wasp’ and ‘Gamma Knife’, back-to-back – with the flute-inspired ‘Hot Water’ providing light relief amongst the pulsating psychedelia.
Their preternatural musical ability, energy, and technical expertise can’t be overstated enough. Because of their penchant for irreverent lyrics and imagery (which often strays into goofy or pastiche territory) the band are often deemed a bit silly, which does them a huge disservice. Mackenzie alone can play fourteen different instruments including the sitar, flute, and zuma…
Followed by ‘Work This Time’ and ‘Shanghai’, the band took the pace down a notch mid-set before ramping the tempo up once again with the finger-blistering finale of ‘The Dripping Tap’. The opening track on 2022’s Omnium Gatherum already clocks in at 18-minutes, and it was further bulked-out by sandwiching ‘Mycelium’, ‘Head On/Pill’ and ‘Am I In Heaven?’ in between.
The evening crescendoed right before the final shred as the crowd dropped to their bums and started rowing in the middle of the moshpit, in what is now customary at King Gizz gigs. Perhaps fitting given the sea of sweat, crowd surfing bodies, and waves of headbanging that ensued.