Wilf Skinner reviews King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard’s sold-out London show
The rise of King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard culminates in a sold-out Brixton Academy show. After the ‘Very Special Guests’ disappeared from the gig poster, that band with the funny name who’ve released loads of albums decided to do what any other pragmatic/bonkers group would do: two sets. One set is microtonal. The other, equally wigged-out but largely tonal.
Opener ‘Rattlesnake’ predictably incites a melee, and they breeze through material from most recent albums, including ‘Sketches of Brunswick East’: ‘D-Day’ and ‘The Book’ might not sit well with all the Gizzheads, those fans beamed down from reddit to SW9 who want eight minutes of rock about cyborgs and AI, but prove to be highlights in an otherwise full-on pair of sets.
A short break and they return to the stage, rattling through songs from ‘Polygandwanaland’ and the heavier ‘Murder of the Universe’. De facto band leader Stuart Mackenzie is full of energy, moving around like a dog with the zoomies, but it’s not all that School of Rock-ish. The group eschew brash showmanship, playing with dead serious expressions most of the time. Visual interest is mainly provided by Jason Galea’s graphics, which read like abstracted B-movie scenes.
They end with songs from ‘Nonagon Infinity’ which open the door… to ‘Gamma Knife’ and ‘Some Context’. Might they have run out of time? Doubtless, some would have wanted to hear older material like ‘The River’, but when a group churns out albums at such a dazzling rate, it must be hard to pick a setlist that satisfies both the Dungeons and Dragons player and the Cool Kid. For the seven-piece have a broad appeal, and whilst they excel at a certain strain of frenetic psych rock, tonight they showed that there’s enough variety – especially in their use of speech synthesis, flute and microtones – to set them apart.
Featured image credit: Heavenly