Melbourne based oddballs King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard assaulted Vancouver eardrums at the Rickshaw Theatre with a set of explosive and extended psychedelic jaunts. Renowned for playing their songs in impressive 10-minute, improvisational jaunts, such as during their last Vancouver show at the Biltmore Cabaret, the Aussie 7-piece have generated a great deal of buzz within the psychedelic community for their incomparable musical attack.
Lizards like heat, right? The venue floor was packed to the brim; it each jam popped up to a driving speed. Occasionally, the band would drop back slightly to allow the flute or harmonica to take flight. Though KG’s industrious releases have provided a strong collection of favourite “songs,” the band is best defined by their incredulous live energy, carrying a spirit that could only be made by a set of Australians.
The band’s chemistry is completely incomparable; climbing onstage, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard took a quick minute to savour the exhaustingly hot air inside the Rickshaw Theatre. King Gizzard took a moment to warm up under the glowing stage lights before exploding into “Robot Stop”” a vicious, stomping rock boogie that splits and spirals into a trembled, descending lead guitar. Without ceasing, the song segued into “Hot Water,” an I’ll Be Your Mind Fuzz highlight, allowing frontman Stu McKenzie to bust out his flute centre stage and draw the number out to the 10-minute mark. Conventional song structures are held in contempt; this band prefers free flowing, raga-structured surf rock with meandering guitar leads and scorching, psychedelic melodies.
The snapping synchronicity of Michael Cavanaugh and Eric Moore on drums and percussion kept the dance floor moving but also allowed broad song arrangements and effective loud-quiet-loud song structures. Stu Mackenzie sometimes stood contorted while in mid-guitar riff; the energy suggests that Lizard Wizards aren’t your average cookie-cutter riff rock band.
In support of their newest album Nonagon Infinity, a set of chaotic, psychedelic surf jaunts that expand and improve on the band’s signature, sonic sprawl, King Gizzard played some of it’s best songs yet. “Gamma Knife”, “ “People Vultures” and “Big Fig Wasp” all show the band at their most accessible form. The album follows up in a similar vein as Mind Fuzz which also made up much of the setlist. The band, prone to sonic experiment, as evident in the acoustic-natured cuts on Paper Mache Balloon Dream or the bounding, 10 minute-long assaults on Quarters, both released in 2015. The songs from Nonagon Infinity succeed in their more succulent durations but retain that flowing wildness off the band’s more manic length cuts such as “the River,” which drifted, ebbed and flowed through various swells of sonic chaos.
Ripping away through their bizarre form of surf rock-inspired, psychedelic jazz, King Gizzard have ripped open a new, wild and wonderful approach to music. Despite their already respectably sized discography, the newest set of tunes from King Gizzard evidently demonstrates that the band is still brightly rising. These Lizards must love sunlight.