If The Beatles, King Crimson & Black Sabbath had a love child together, it would probably look and sound something like the Melbournian sextet King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard. Wooing crowds with their eclectic mash of fuzz-soaked psychedelia, garage and punk, they have become the long awaited vinyl revival we've all been waiting for.
Their rise to success over the last 5 years has been no accident. With a relentless perseverance, the boys at Gizz have managed to pump out ten (yes, ten!) albums, all since 2011. Each time they release a new album, we've come to expect something radically more bizarre than the last, and their latest offering Nonagon Infinity has been no disappointment in that respect. These guys are definitely not short of imagination – from the Python-esque music videos to the satirical religious lyrics – it all has a distinctively outer-space Medieval vibe to it. And, whilst true to its name, the album is literally constructed as an infinite loop, meaning that the last notes connect up perfectly with the first.
Arriving at the sold out show at the Oxford Arts Factory, the joint is swarming - for a small venue it packs out pretty damn well. So well, in fact, that you can feel a pungent mix of sweat, pheromones and adrenaline in the air in anticipation for Gizz to take stage. Opening with a bang with psych-punk banger Robot Stop, front man Stu Mackenzie tears up the stage with his curiously lizard-like movements whilst the harmonica player, Ambrose Kenny-Smith, is absolutely shredding.
From watching their interviews, with their nonchalant answers and a visibly camera shy Stu – you would not expect the sheer scale of madness contained within their live show. The entire set is a constant wall of sound, a psychedelic-punk explosion catapulting the audience into another dimension. And it’s good. Really, really good.
People Vultures on another note, begins teasingly with a slow build up, and when it drops, it DROPS. Next is Cellophane, an oldie but a goodie from their album I’m In Your Mind Fuzz, that transforms the audience into a sea of sweaty limbs flailing about haphazardly. Harmonica guy is, again, going fucking ham.
The River shows a softer, more psychedelic tinge to the band, hailing from their 2014 album Quarters. A psychedelic jam lasting 8 minutes, it evokes a pleasant similarity to Grateful Dead’s China Cat Sunflower. Finally, they end on a reprise to their first track, Robot Stop, presumably in a nod to the cyclical nature of their latest work.
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard are impossible to put into boxes. Their music and live show evokes description ranging anywhere from thrash metal to psychedelia to folk, making any sort of musical analysis a field day for the budding music academic. But, if I absolutely had to pin down their live show it would be this:
Demented, diabolical and disorienting. But in the best damn way possible.
Reviewer: Nicole Munnelly