Even the most avid and well versed of music know-it-all’s would struggle to count on more than one hand a list of musicians as eclectic as King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard. The Australian supergroup (an apt description of the outfit) somehow manage to produce multiple albums a year, each showcasing a new genre, a new sound, a new dimension, and yet all the while still upholding a reputation for the high quality of these complex compositions. Just this year, King Gizzard released a funk and disco infused record, and a few months later the same group of people unleashed a thrash metal project onto unsuspecting fans. Seeing such a band live promises something completely unique and so their take over of Leeds O2 Academy following a long stint away from the city seemed like the perfect opportunity to draw conclusions from an unpredictable show.
While support act and fellow label sharers Stonefield showcased their 70s style, tripped out psychedelic rock sounds, the room filled up with keen fans, donned in King Gizzard merch and eager for a space close to the front. The Austrialian trio delivered a hard-hitting set of fuzzed out riffs, ethereal synthesised organs and screeching vocals. Yet another one of Australia’s psychedelic exports are set to warm up crowds, as harder psych sounds are given from Orb, and their lengthy songs inclusive of krautrock style drums, repetitive drawls of guitar and hypotonic effects.
It might seem lazy to compare acts to others, but when doom-y sounds are dominating, credit is due to the creators and innovators as both support bands gave a heavy nod to Sabbath with their metal style riffs tinted with reverb - a perfect introduction to another outfit known for their innovative sounds.
Anticipation was building for the main act and as they begin their marathon set with a track from their freshest and heaviest album yet, King Gizzard claim the stage by performing a live rendition of ‘Mars For The Rich’, complete with complex, sped up riffs and an impressive display of dual drumming to really hammer those heavy sounds home. Continuing with their thrash metal endeavours, the crowd swelled as without much of a pause for breath, the band went straight into ‘Venusian 1’ and unapologetically supplied some earth-shatteringly loud caterwauling.
Rumours have been floating around that King Gizzard have been mixing it up night after night on this tour, swapping and changing setlists to suit - and while this only extenuates their talents and further secures how versatile this outfit are, going from the heaviest of their sounds straight into tracks from their more ambient, synth dominated record, Polygondwanaland, may have been a mistake in their Leeds leg as the previous energy was now dispersed and a little lost. Perhaps that’s the issue with witnessing a band live with such an extensive and differing back catalogue in general, though, that moods and tones will shift as the sound does - and delivering a setlist to please absolutely everybody is never quite achievable.
Yet, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard gave it a good go, and members of their fanbase-filled audience had little complaints judging from the reactions to their performance, as they tore through songs from a number of their records, including Fishing For Fishies’ ‘Cyboogie’, Flying Microtonal Banana’s ‘Anoxia’, more songs from their thrash record Infest The Rats Nest. Finishing on a song from what it widely regarded as their most celebrated fuzz record, ‘I’m In Your Mind Fuzz’ with ‘Am I In Heaven’, the band were met with nothing but praise from the filled up venue. There’s no denying the talent of this eclectic bunch, and by swinging from genre to genre with ease they truly touched on how much their sound can vary, securing a title as one of the most unique live acts around.
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