Gig Review: King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard

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Date: 18th of February, 2018
Location: Croxton Bandroom, Thornbury, Melbourne

One more Melbourne show before the seven gents in King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard jet overseas for an extensive tour of Europe and the United States. Announced less than two weeks before the show’s date, it was bound to sell quickly – and it did, in less than an hour, actually.

No support acts. Two seperate sets. There was a lot of appeal to this show in particular, regardless of the fact it may be their last show here for a little while.

Doors opened at 8pm and the venue spent no time messing around getting people in. I really appreciated this gesture, as I’ve previously missed opening acts due to poor planning and slow staff at the door. The band was meant to start around 8:30pm, however we didn’t see them come out until just before 9pm – enough time for the room to fill almost completely.

Their first set featured a lot of the band’s microtonal material. Spanning eleven songs, including the live debut of three tracks: Greenhouse Heat Death (Gumboot Soup), D-Day and The Book (Sketches of Brunswick East). Unsurprisingly, there was an incredible amount of energy to fill the room almost immediately. Crowd movement was inevitable, just like the “Rattlesnake” chants during the band’s opening song: you guessed it – Rattlesnake.

Setlist – Set One
Greenhouse Heat Death
Nuclear Fusion
Open Water
All Is Known
Sleep Drifter
The Book
Billabong Valley
Doom City (w/ Crumbling Castle Outro)

The band was tight. They played alongside each other with near-perfect timing and you can really tell how well rehearsed their setlist is. Tracks blend into one another seamlessly, or finish in complete unison. Combined with the flashing, multi-coloured visuals projected over the band, it really was a sight to behold.

Following the crashing outro to Crumbling Castle in order to conclude the mosh-extravaganza induced by Billabong Valley and Doom City, the band took a, surprisingly short, fifteen minute break before resuming with their second, thirteen track, set for the night.

Setlist – Set Two
Evil Death Roll
Welcome to an Altered Future
Digital Black
Han-Tyumi the Confused Cyborg
The Lord of Lightning
Crumbling Castle
The Fourth Colour
Robot Stop
Big Fig Wasp
Gamma Knife

Polygondwanaland and The Fourth Colour (Polygondwanaland) both saw their live debut during the – in my opinion – better set of the night. These tracks hold so much more power and energy within them than some of the microtonal songs. However, the part that really sets them ahead is the band’s ability to play them back-to-back within their own chapters of the live performance. If my memory does not fail me, I believe Evil Death Roll was the only song in the second half of the show not to be paired with another track (I’m probably wrong).

The trilogy of Robot Stop into Big Fig Wasp into Gamma Knife closed out the show, being performed entirely live to a standard which rivals the studio recordings. Each member nails their individual parts, and – as mentioned previously – the near-perfect timing is so impressive. Typically, the encore chants began as soon as the band left the stage, but the possibility was ruled out by the PA music and return of the venue lighting.

‘Energetic’ is definitely the best word I can think to describe this performance if I had to limit myself to one. All seven members power through each song like it was the first one of the night. The crowd continuously moved throughout the entire show and chanted wherever they saw fitting.

Not only do I absolutely love all of these songs to death, King Gizzard’s musicianship just blasts them to a whole new level when they are played live. Besides the tremendous five album effort of 2017, it’s easy to see why this group has gained so much traction recently – their live shows are a whole other experience.

Overall, the outstanding TWENTY-THREE songs that the band played tonight definitely constitutes the best total setlist they’ve pieced together. Throw a couple of encore songs on the end (a screenshot from a video implies Head On/Pill may be played as an encore song) and you have any King Gizz fan’s dream. The energy is next level, the musicianship is impressive as hell, and the crowd involvement was spectacular. Without a doubt, an experience that any King Gizzard fan – regardless of whether you know one song, or all of them – needs to endure.

Personally (and I’m sure every fan is going to relate to some degree), there were songs that I would have liked to hear. People-Vultures is always a great track, and I would have loved to hear The Great Chain of Being. Although, when you get twenty-three songs from the same band in one night, it’s impossible to be disappointed.

So glad I managed to snag tickets for this show. I wish the best of luck to the band in their overseas return and look forward to seeing what other surprises we get throughout the year.

Follow the band on Facebook, and be sure to check out the Flightless store.

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