The Event: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, HiFi Bar 19th December
Victoria’s purveyors of psych-rock fuzz, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard wrapped up the year and a national tour with a corker of a live set at The Hifi Bar last Friday night, supported by Leah Senior, Tonstartssbandht and Adalita, as well as a scene stealing series of psychedelic projections created by mixed-media artist Jason Galea.
After receiving international praise for their performances at New York's CMJ Music Conference in October, the November release of I’m In Your Mind Fuzz (their 5th LP in the space of two and a half years) and extensive tours throughout America, the UK, Europe and Australia during 2014, the young band would be forgiven for subjecting their audience to a lackluster performance. Luckily for us, they remained in high spirits throughout the concert, obviously ecstatic to be back on home turf.
The show at The Hifi would best be described as full sensory overload, visual effects working in perfect unison with the tunes, resulting in a mind-bending cacophony of sound, skill and stamina.
For the uninitiated King Gizz play fuzzy psychedelic rock, with a strong hint of 60s garage. The band lineup includes two drummers, three guitarists, and a sometime harmonica/tambourine/keyboard playing backing singer. What could easily be an overwhelming amount of sound works perfectly together, blending seamless layers of beats, echoes and fuzz with the vocals of lead singer Stu Mackenzie.
Four years in and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have managed to explore a staggering array of genres throughout their brief career; from bubblegum psyche pop (Oddments, 2014), garage punk and Daptone influenced soul (I’m In Your Mind Fuzz was partially recorded at the legendary Brooklyn based studio). With their “more is more” approach to recorded music it’s only fitting that their live shows should follow suit.
Playing a setlist that included a number of tracks off the latest LP, King Gizz kept their performance loose, happy to jam and draw out the running times of several tracks; incorporating drumstick flips, gobbing, tambourine solos and all manor of onstage shenanigans while an enthusiastic crowd whipped themselves into a hyped up frenzy.
By the end of the gig this reviewer was left feeling both exhausted and elated, although sober I had the overwhelming feeling of having my drink spiked with LSD, Galea’s trippy lightshow embedded in my retinas while tunes firmly echoed through my head.
I made my way up the stairs of The Hifi and stumbled back onto Swanston Street deep into a thick crowd of unsuspecting late night shoppers. Although reluctant to break the live music spell, the reality of a pre-Christmas general public hit me hard as I wandered towards a Bourke Street tram stop, more than ready to see this magical septet perform again at the Sugar Mountain festival this coming January.