Where: The Ding Dong Lounge, Melbourne
When: September 17th 2014
This review originally appeared on Tonedeaf.com.au
To say that Melburnian’s King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard have gathered a bit of momentum in their short time together would be one hell of an understatement. The seven strong psyche and garage rock loving mates, only formed in 2011 yet are just about to unleash their fifth studio album; I’m In Your Mind Fuzz.
Thursday was the second of their four scheduled hometown gigs, and the crowd got in plenty early to claim their spot within the tight knit confines of the Ding Dong Lounge. Support came from fellow psychedelic rock enthusiasts The Murlocs, who as it transpired, include two members of King Gizzard amongst their ranks.
The five piece strolled on stage to an audience who were crammed in like sardines, which led to a rapid rise in room temperature, and kicked things off with the bluesy sounding ‘Control Freak’, from their 2014 debut album Loopholes. The harmonica driven number, courtesy of lead vocalist Ambrose Kenny Smith, contained some deafening drum action from Matt Blach. However at times it meant Smith’s high pitched vocals were lost in the midst of the ruckus.
Fellow album tracks ‘Paranoid Joy’ and ‘Space Cadet’ highlighted just how clearly The Murlocs’ sound is indebted to the resonance of the Nuggets bands’, it’s just that the infamous 60s garage aesthetic, has been given an added zest of further reverb. ‘Unknown Disease’, the third new track unveiled, kept up the addictive drum beat and guitar licks that were so prominent in the previous tracks.
Unfortunately Smith’s shrieking vocals were pretty incoherent for a majority of the band’s set, with part of the reason due to his colleague’s playing muffling him out. A second drummer joined them for final track ‘Loopholes’, a slow and meandering tune that built up the crowd’s feverish enthusiasm with ease, in no doubt helped by the frantic and possessed energy of their guitarist, who seemed to be under the spell of a puppet master at times, such was the way his body synced with the music.
As a result of The Murlocs’ set, the crowd was in the perfect frame of mind for the arrival of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. The prolific outfit are considered one of Australia’s best loved garage bands, even though their woozy psychedelic songs also include hints of country and blues music, alongside that of shoegaze and hard rock. Not so easy to pin down are the Lizard boys!
Even though this tour was being used to promote the soon to be released I’m In Your Fuzz Mind album, it did come as a surprise that the first half of the set concentrated on purely new material, rather than peppering the newer tracks throughout their allotted time. It didn’t seem to bother the crowd too much however, as the opening chords of latest single, ‘Cellophane’, emanated from the amplifiers.
Vocalist Stu Mackenzie’s performance was like that of a frenzied maniac, while the way the tension was purposefully teased throughout each song, just added to the crowd’s sense of psyche fuelled anticipation. Each track, be they newer numbers such as ‘Empty’ and ‘Am I in Heaven’, exploded with as much kaleidoscope venom and distorted fuzziness, as older songs, ‘Hot Wax’ and ‘Cut Throat Boogie’.
The abovementioned ‘Empty’ kicked off rather slowly before it ignited into life, which led the crowd to up the ante, as one sweaty collective mess, in a way not to dissimilar to the crashing swell you’d witness when visiting the 12 Apostles! The way the song’s pounding dual drumming, sat so effortlessly beside the harmonica’s shrilling output, was evocative of a rumbling tank smashing through the rubble of a building that only a few moments before had stood in its way!
A jazz flute then made an unexpected, yet somehow fitting appearance during the memorable and catchy drum beat immersed ‘Hot Water’, while the crowd surfing and general thrashing around of the audience kicked up a notch during ‘Black Tooth’.
The mini opus that is ‘Head On/Pill’ was utterly spellbinding. It not only highlighted the Lizard boys’ vigorous musicianship, but also their stamina – which was something the crowd had to at times endure – as it entered the twenty minute mark!
The way in which King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard can entice their audience to enter their multicoloured, multifaceted, heavily layered yet energetic world was a sight to behold. There is no way for these seven disciples of psychedelia to go but up.
Set List: ‘I’m In Your Mind’, ‘I’m Not In Your Mind’, ‘Cellophane’, ‘I’m In Your Mind Fuzz’, ‘Empty’, ‘Hot Water’, ‘Slow Jam 1’, ‘Am I In Heaven?’, ‘Hot Wax’, ‘Cut Throat Boogie’, ‘Black Tooth’, ‘Head On/Pill’ and ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ (Stooges Cover)