LIVE: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard @ Rock City, Nottingham 30/09/19

Melbourne-based garage rockers, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are here to prove to Nottingham’s Rock City that they are just as out of this world as they sound as they explode onto the first leg of their 2019 UK tour.

The band’s eclectic catalogues of albums embrace an array of genres other than their trademark brand of manically trippy psychedelic rock, from the lucid user-friendly indie-psych of ‘Paper Mache Dream Balloon’ to the borderline heavy metal of more recent releases, including their 14th studio album ‘Infest the Rats Nest’.

Averaging two album releases per year, peaking at a whopping five in 2017, the Aussie psychedelic rockers are far from afraid of experimentation. Drawing their inspiration from such a broad spectrum of influences – spanning an array of decades – means that they garner the attention of a huge cult following from a diverse range of subcultures. It’s safe to say that the 7-piece are one of the most exciting musical projects going on at the moment.

Support for the length of the tour comes from fellow Australian bands, psychedelic band of sisters, Stonefield, and stoner-rockers Orb, whose progressive rock sound wouldn’t be amiss in the 1970’s.

The anticipation drips from the walls, just like the humidity of the packed-out venue; as the crowd – a combination of unsuspecting newbies and die-hard fans – eagerly await. It’s almost impossible to predict what King Gizzard will bring to the table, as every performance is strikingly unique.

King Gizzard’s two drummers emerge to an ear-splitting wall of sound and begin to play the pounding double bass introduction to ‘Self Immolate’ in perfect symmetry. The rest of the band take to the stage, humbly acknowledging the roaring fans before smashing into their set of thunderous riffs and dirty licks, paying homage to metal legends Metallica and Slayer.

Captivating the crowd’s attention, the band break into their epic 10-minute psychedelic ballad, ‘Crumbling Castle’ before surprising the crowd by reviving a series of electric bangers from their 4th studio album, ‘I’m In Your Mind Fuzz’, all the while dazzling the crowd with kaleidoscopic visuals which could rival LSD. If you weren’t crowd surfing, you were surfing a seriously gnarly sonic wave.

Although more of a collective in terms of their creative agendas, the band play their masterfully skilled songs in perfect synergy; with intense concentration, yet with precision and ease. They transform chaotic audial nonsense into a smooth, sensical musical journey. Once dubious of the merit of their new releases, King Gizzard’s performance skills and the live atmosphere dispel any formerly held ambiguity and truly give credit to their newer material such as synth-laced ‘Cyboogie’, which is spectacularly spliced into ‘Boogieman Sam’ to create a funky blues-fuelled 11-minute extravaganza.

In good old unpredictable King Gizzard style, the band revisit their traditional psychedelic desert roots with a classic track from their 2013 release of the same name ‘Float Along – Fill Your Lungs’, bringing a calming sense of serenity and closure to the tumultuously bizarre Monday night.

WORDS: Laura Phillips

PICS: James Birtwhistle