King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard


It seems like barely a day goes by without us at Silent Radio extolling the virtues of the Psych revival. This is not by design; Manchester and seemingly everywhere else is aboard a kaleidoscopic juggernaut unable and unwilling to stop it.

Both floors of The Ritz are in use for tonight’s celebration made possible by Strange Waves and the giddy flow of people bounding up and down the stairs gives the octogenarian venue a real house party feel. It’s hard not to be reminded of the last variegated revival; the ill-fated, Klaxons-led Nu-Rave, built on much less substance than the current crop of mind-bending musicians.

The Parrots occupy the basement for a raucous half hour of pure garage rock. It’s a thrilling start to the night and clear to see the influences they share with, and have on, fellow Madrilenos Hinds.

Side-stepping some wasted revellers on the stairs, it’s time for the top of the ticket. A live reputation far outstripping their stature, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard have seemingly toured non-stop for years, gathering fans like hyperactive kids chasing Pokémon Go.

The show kicks off with ‘Robot Stop’, the exhilarating opener from new album Nonagon Infinity. As with the record this welds seamlessly into ‘Big Fig Wasp’ and ‘Gamma Knife’, delivered at such an unrelenting pace that usingspacesfeelsinappropriate.

The seven-strong Aussie outfit cut an impressive figure. A straight line of dishevelled rock warriors front the band, fluidly moving from hip-shaking riffs into jam-tastic wig outs, complemented by two fantastic drummers whose incredible rhythms shake the very foundations of Whitworth Street West. Those years on the road are evidently bearing fruit.

Things slow a little with the brilliant ‘Mr Beat’. A catchy, fun number; it’s not quite novelty but has the sort of charm that will have advertising executives drooling.  Introduction of a mythical sounding flute undoubtedly earns the Melbourne group more Psych Points, as they notch up numerous nods to trippy history without them feeling ever feeling forced or clichéd.

A lengthy set allows for a detour from Nonagon Infinity with some well selected cuts from their bountiful back catalogue. A fantastic run from 2014’s ‘I’m In Your Mind Fuzz’ showcases an extensive range of influences, well beyond the obvious numerous psychedelic sub genres (space-rock, freakbeat etcetera) to bluesy bass lines and funkier moments which border on Afrobeat.

Whilst occasionally this can feel ponderous, it is only really in relation to the jet-like opening twenty minutes. Truth is, they put prog influence to effective use, particularly on new song ‘Grumbling Castle’, evocative of Canterbury Scene classic, Caravan’s In the Land of Grey and Pink.

Allowing for occasional indulgent noodling, singalongs punctuate the show brilliantly. King Gizzard have a wonderful knack of supplying chantable, melodic nonsense at every turn. There is even an electrifying crowd-bows-down-before-launching-into-a-mosh-pit moment that has the hairs on your neck standing on end.

With so much energy thrown into the body of the show, you have to marvel at the exhilarating vigour of the finale. As with the record, the chugging Brit-Metal of Road Train loops back to ‘Robot Stop’, an incredible reprise delivered with climactic joy. Arms are flailing, voices are strained and sweat drips from every pore. 

You know you’ve seen something special when a united riff-reciting continues out the door and into the streets. The night is still young but when King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard have taken you to another dimension, it’s hard to know where to go from here.

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Joseph Curran

Features Editor and gig reviewer