Every once in a blue moon, there comes along a band that will raise the musical bar and work standard of how a unit should operate. A rare breed that will continuously challenge what will be expected of them, but in turn keep producing records of such substantial merit that they do not get tiresome, predictable, or cliche. Australian psychedelic garage rock crew King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are that kind of band – a special, outrageously talented group that have defied all of what has been expected of them. Be it the seven (yes you read that right) albums they have released since 2012 (their 8th album coming soon), their almost mythically non-stop touring schedule worldwide, or their fiercely independent self-reliance on releasing their records through their own label, and only up until recently – making all their albums available on vinyl format only.
But on a mild yet blustery evening in Camden Town, the band play their third ever show in London at the Electric Ballroom in Camden Town. Having sold out the show down to mere word of mouth, the result is a testament to how incredible the strength of their fan base has become and the bands prominence to the public eye. Having been to a number of indie-rock shows in the past, I have found that sometimes the crowds can be a little… non-energetic, vanity ridden, and materialistic, shall we say? But thankfully on this very night… that is not the case at all. In fact, entirely the opposite; in the best possible way!
First up is the only support band of the evening, in the form of London natives Yak. A fiery and chaotic trio who ride their way through a scathing set of bass heavy, scuzzy rock and roll which borders on the lines of Bleach-era Nirvana, The Vines, and Winnebago Deal. It seems that they already have quite a following as it is, as there is a dedicated bunch at the front that are kick-starting procedures with a manic little pit going on for pretty much every song. The band, clearly loving it, feed off of this energy which sees the vocalist / guitarist spending quarter of his time down by the barriers and on top of the crowd themselves. Whilst they have a little tightening up to do live, it will be interesting to see how Yak flourish as a force to be reckoned with. An entertaining yet promising set from this three-piece. Watch this space!
But as the sold out crowd absolutely rams the floor of the Electric Ballroom, the excitement that is about to greet King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard is bordering upon feverish. The band come out and shoot straight in to set opener ‘Danger $$$‘, followed immediately by the mammoth 16 minute psychedelic treat that is ‘Head On / Pill‘, which sends the crowd in to absolute overdrive. Their set tonight is a mix of material both old and new. Older songs such as ‘Hot Wax‘, and ‘Cut Throat Boogie‘ ignite dance floor spazz outs, and newer songs like ‘Trapdoor‘ start some wonderful singalongs and pogo action. The band even include two brand new songs this evening entitled ‘Robot Stop‘, and ‘Gamma Knife‘ – both of which are rapturously received. But it is the material from their 2014 masterpiece I’m in Your Mind Fuzz that garners the wildest reaction.
As well as playing the jazz flute wonderment of ‘Hot Water‘, it is the closing medley (I’m In Your Mind / I’m Not In Your Mind / Cellophane / I’m In Your Mind Fuzz) of the first set that sets the crowd at fever pitch to the point where the show might as well have crossed the boundaries of punk rock .Every single spectator is reacting in an almost Shamanic way with their voodoo-like dance moves, relentless bouncing and energy, non-stop mosh pit action, and unrivalled appreciation and dedication showing just why they love this band so much. However, due to an almost deafening demand from the fans – thanks to the near rumbling / splitting of the venue floor, the band come back to perform one last song aptly titled ‘Am I In Heaven?‘. What followed towards the end of this song was a 100% totally natural, 1200 strong crowd sit down during the last quieter dynamic of the song, which, when the final drop kicked in, saw the whole crowd jump up in unison and go absolutely bonkers – much to the amazement and surprise of the band themselves!
But what has evolved tonight is more than just a great sold out show. Oh no, it is a LOT more than that. What was witnessed this evening was the realisation of something truly special. A unique, original, and fresh rock band who, on their own terms, have created something truly beautiful beyond what seems like not just this writer’s expectations, but every single one of their fans expectations too. Tonight was one of the most naturally flourishing, extraordinary, and incredible shows that will forever remain a staple in the career of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s already sterling yet relatively young career. Shows like these will be the kind of gigs that will go down in the name of legend. But one honestly believes that this is just but the beginning of some even more amazing things to come… Gentlemen, the world is yours for the taking. You’ve earned it!