Live Review: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard @ Brighton Dome, Brighton – May 31st 2024

The inimitable Australian every-genre act King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard finished a 6 date run of UK shows this week with a truly special evening of acoustically performed deep cuts from their expansive and ever growing repertoire.

Filling the picturesque Brighton Dome were fans from far and wide, many travelling from overseas and religiously following the band to complete personal bucket lists of songs they wished to hear live. The set in Brighton, for many, delivered that and much more.

Opening the show was fellow Australian and close friend of the headliners, Grace Cummings who boasted an ethereal intensity to her luscious booming voice. Grace opened with a rousing mid low tune on her own acoustic guitar, gradually bringing each instrument into the mix for a foreboding but grabbing opener.

Fan favourite ‘Storm Queen’ delved deeper into the distorted dark-country twang, with an ever present undertone of foreboding menace and sincerity.

The bright clean guitar tones that opened the track generated a textural quality that later cut through to a powerful amplified distortion, climaxing to a euphoric finale.

Her tone, in voice and on the guitar bellows a fierce independence in its delivery, crescendoing to rip roaring guitar solo outro on the track.

As the six members of King Gizzard casually took to the stage, they deviated from their usual stage positions to perch atop undoubtedly uncomfortable stools, with folded towels and pieces of foam taped down as padded cover. By any measure an indication of the length, and force at which the band were about to launch into for this concert.

With smiles ablaze across their faces, matching that of the capacity crowd they began as they meant to go on, revelling in unorthodox reprisals of beloved numbers from their sizeable but ever-growing repertoire, opening with “Iron Lung” from 2022’s ‘Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms and Lava’. Managing somehow to initiate a pattern of remarkably hard hitting live acoustic reproductions, with ‘Iron Lung’ allowing multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Ambrose Kenny-Smith to belt out lines at the top of his lungs towards the song’s epic finale from behind an upright piano (here replacing his usual keyboard and synth setup).

Ambrose would later take the spotlight, for a standing performance of classic Gizzard track “Let Me Mend the Past” to a deserved standing ovation, only then to remark “I’ve done better” at the end – one of many amusing self-deprecating remarks shared by the band during interludes that were at times simply hilarious.

Diving deep into their back catalogue, it was inevitable that tunes from the band’s decidedly chill acoustic folk album ‘Paper Mache Dream Balloon’ would feature, but in the case of “Most of What I Like”, an infectiously funky spin was put on it, causing the bands hardcore fans to vibrate with glee and chatter.

With a rich 25 albums of material to draw from, it was daring that King Gizzard indulged in a number of brand new tracks,l during the show, including a live debut of “Mirage City”. Another potential inclusion from an as yet untitled upcoming release was “Raw Feel” which saw an astonishing vocal harmony between the entire band in during it’s final chorus call of “raw feel for you, raw feel for me, raw feel for everyone” – indeed the perfect encapsulation of a night of stripped back, raw renditions of beloved songs.

Arguably still in their ‘jam band’ era, the acoustic show was not immune to the allure of the bands adventurous improvisation. Here “The Bitter Boogie” featured a slow, mysterious build up before developing into it’s instantly recognisable lead lines. It’s lengthy jam section managed to be rocking and worthy of some movement in the crowd and onstage, as band leader Stu Mackenzie, barefoot, bobbed up and down on his tiny stool, delighting in the direction this performance was going during the extrapolated jam.

Crystal clear audio in the Dome’s main hall allowed each member’s input in the band shine like never before. Indeed during “The Bitter Boogie” each member independently took turns to sing a sustained “bitter” line in their mic, with the seldom heard Cook Craig getting the biggest audience applause, by far.

Closing out the set, Stu began a reciting a remarkable story of meeting a fan following a show previously on the tour. He revealed she had shared a bootleg CD with him featuring folk covers of King Gizzard’s music, which the entire band had thoroughly enjoyed since. So much so, that it inspired them to perform a track from their most recent metal album ‘Petrodragonic Apocalypse’ called “Witchcraft”, a stirring and fast paced thrasher which took on a new, haunting meaning when stripped back and performed at a slower tempo. This being one of many songs that for this performance, apparently went unrehearsed and untested, though one would defy a single person in attendance for knowing so.

Least of all perhaps were the large volumes of venue staff, who incredibly were visibly taken aback by the performance too, allowing themselves to let curiosity get the better of them, ultimately to be captivated and capturing photos and video of songs, no doubt to follow up and research the music in their own time. Fans and staff alike could unanimously agree that King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard in 2024 simply ooze talent, and indeed especially in an acoustic environment, their masterful songwriting ability was all the more present.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard play three final shows in Europe before embarking on an extensive North American tour this summer. Dates below:

Sun. June 2 – Paris, FR @ We Love Green Festival
Tue. June 4 – Milan, IT @ UNALTROFESTIVAL, Circolo Magnolia
Thu. August 15- Washington, DC @ The Anthem
Fri. August 16- Forest Hills, NY @ Forest Hills Stadium *
Sat. August 17 – Forest Hills, NY @ Forest Hills Stadium *
Mon. August 19 – Boston, MA @ The Stage at Suffolk Downs
Tue. August 20 – Portland, ME @ Thompson’s Point
Wed. August 21 – Toronto, ON @ Budweiser Stage
Fri. August 23 – Detroit, MI @ Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre ^
Sat. August 24 – Cleveland, OH @ Jacobs Pavilion
Sun. August 25 – Newport, KY @ MegaCorp Pavilion Outdoor
Tue. August 27 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Dell Music Center
Wed. August 28 – Richmond, VA @ Brown’s Island
Fri. August 30 – Asheville, NC @ ExploreAsheville.com Arena
Sat. August 31 – Nashville, TN @ Ascend Amphitheater
Sun. September 1 – Chicago, IL @ Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island *
Tue. September 3 – Minneapolis, MN @ The Armory
Wed. September 4 – Milwaukee, WI @ Miller High Life Theatre
Thu. September 5 – St. Louis, MO @ The Factory
Fri. September 6 – Omaha, NE @ The Astro Amphitheater
Sun. September 8 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Mon. September 9 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre [EARLY SHOW]
Mon. September 9 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre [LATE SHOW]
Wed. September 11 – Troutdale, OR @ Edgefield Amphitheater
Thu. September 12 – Vancouver, BC @ Pacific Coliseum
Sat. September 14 – Quincy, WA @ The Gorge Amphitheatre *
Fri. November 1, 2024 – Inglewood, CA @ The Forum
Sat. November 2 – San Diego, CA @ The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park ^
Sun. November 3 – Paso Robles, CA @ Vina Robles Amphitheatre
Mon. November 4 – Stanford, CA @ Frost Amphitheater at Stanford
Fri. November 8 – Las Vegas, NV @ Bakkt Theater at Planet Hollywood
Sat. November 9 – Phoenix, AZ @ Arizona Financial Theatre
Sun. November 10 – Albuquerque, NM @ Revel Entertainment
Tue. November 12 – Oklahoma City, OK @ The Criterion
Wed. November 13 – Fayetteville, AR @ JJ’s Live
Fri. November 15 – Austin, TX @ Germania Insurance Amphitheater *
Sat. November 16 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
Sun. November 17 – New Orleans, LA @ Mardi Gras World
Tue. November 19 – Atlanta, GA @ Fox Theatre Atlanta
Wed. November 20 – St. Augustine, FL @ St. Augustine Amphitheatre
Thu. November 21 – Miami, FL @ Factory Town


* 3-HOUR MARATHON SET
^ACOUSTIC SET

Review & photography by Michael Lockheart © 2024

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