King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard


Tonight we have two of Heavenly Recordings finest acts on display and the event is sure to be packed.

Arriving at the venue early, the room already has a good number of people milling about and that increases when Hooton Tennis Club take to the stage. The Liverpudlian quartet have only been on the scene just over a year but have already made significant progress and acquired a loyal fan base. They offer an enchanting blend of jangly surf rock with contrasting tones in vocals and riffs and this helps set their tracks apart from the standard.

‘Barlow Terrace’, taken from new album Highest Point in Cliff Town due in late August sees the band really come into their own and all members move along merrily to the music with the bass line being dominant. They move through a slower track which they say “is for the couples” and before long Ambrose from King Gizzard joins them on-stage to add a harmonica accompaniment. The stand out track of the set comes in the form of ‘Jasper’ with its compelling guitar riff and alluring lyrics. The crowd really get into this one and cheer along their support enthusiastically.

All seven of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard take to the stage and commence immediately into ‘I’m In Your Mind’, the crowd go crazy at the upbeat and far too catchy track and a mosh pit of sorts opens in the centre of the room. There is some classic face pulling from singer Stu Mackenzie and it’s lapped up by the room. Moving straight into ‘I’m Not In Your Mind’ with its Egyptian reggae-esque riffs, the dual drummers Michael Cavanagh and Eric Moor really make their presence known here. Everything is executed with precision and it clear the band are very comfortable with both their sound and the way it is performed.

‘Cellophane’ immediately causes a stir with its relentless energy and the fact that the band haven’t yet paused for breath has the crowd in somewhat of a frenzy. The ever probing bass line of Lucas Skinner is the real driving force within this track and quite simply, it’s fantastic. ‘I’m In Your Mind Fuzz’ and ‘Hot Wax’ are churned out in rapid succession and in the later the presence of Ambrose Kenny-Smith is really made apparent with the use of additional vocals and harmonica.

One thing that’s becoming apparent as they progress, they are constantly looping their songs so as the current track finishes, they loop back to one of those played previously. This has a mesmerising effect and keeps the set list constant in the mind of the listener. When watching them it is almost as if this is an effortless jam, but for it to be executed with such clarity, they must have worked hard at this. They throw a few new, and seemingly unnamed tracks into the mix which are to be taken from their forthcoming album. They are very much in the King Gizzard style and offer a tantalising glimpse at things to come. If they are anything to go by, fans will not be disappointed with the new album.

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard photo by Leanne Crowley

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard photo by Leanne Crowley

‘Hot Water’ sees Stu pick up the flute and this track has so much energy to it, it’s quite simply impossible to stand still. Once again it is delivered perfectly and to say there are seven on stage all looking to each other for prompts, there is not a dropped note anywhere. Next we have the ten minute plus offering which is ‘The River’, taken from their latest EP Quarters. This track is very floaty and calms the audience into submission with its repeated elements and soothing vocals. The addition of congos is a little different to those tracks preceding but no less brilliant.

Another new track is churned out before a less played track makes an appearance, ‘Muckraker’. The track has a lot of energy and the mood in the room erupts once more as the crowd go wild. Crowd surfers pass by overhead and there is a lot of jumping going on. On stage the energy is just as high and continues as they play ‘Danger $$$’. These are two older and less refined tracks from the band and exhibit a different style than that which they currently showcase, however they are not out of place in the set and very go down just as well as any other. Loops back to previous songs in the set are done once more into ‘Cellophane’ and the effect of this really cannot be underestimated.

The set draws to a close with ‘Am I In Heaven? / Pill’ with its jangly use of synth and percussion alongside rhythmic bass and guitars. The energy on stage is captivating to watch and even if you are not a fan of this music, to see these musicians give their all like this is quite simply fantastic. The limited vocals are almost breathed into the mic and the instruments become an extension of their bodies. This is a fantastic choice of song to end on as it leaves the mood buoyant and the crowd wanting more.

I’ve been to a lot of gigs recently, but I have to say I think this is one of the best and most consistent live performances I’ve seen in sometime. Their energy on stage is quite frankly staggering when considering the rate at which they perform, it’s clear they love every track and each set list is compiled with care and precision to ensure that it all flows effortlessly. King Gizzard have really marked themselves out as ones to watch and I’m certain it won’t be long before they are up there with the psych greats securing the biggest slots around.

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Lover of all things psych and shoegaze and the mind behind Astral Elevator; constantly seeking new musical experiences in a world full of noise.