Melb psych rockers King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard bring their full-mouthful of an album to Badlands
The crude cavern like music-venue Badlands (Formerly the beloved and sorely missed Devilles) might seem a touch adventitious for the outskirts of East Perth. Modeled from Badlands National Park in knee-slapping South Dakota, Badlands might not seem to have any particular stylistic direction aside from being one in a handful of decent gig venues in Perth and drawing the inner caveperson out of punters. And yet mock stalactites seemed to mesh well with a packed stage of musicians throwing their all into a ceaseless set of psychedelic garage rock. On the Friday night show of their 3-Perth-show-extravaganza, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard presented as a seven-piece cavalcade of strings and percussion (plus a few harmonicas for good measure) who are hellbent on setting fire to the crisp winter weekend.
Touring their 8th studio release, Nonagon Infinity, the set played much like their album in its seamlessness between tracks. (Perhaps a useful aside to include about this album is my little brother’s observation that “Nonagon Infinity is good to work out to because you lose track of time”).
King Gizzy played for over an hour non-stop, like a freight train rocketing through to the end of the line, taking no extra passengers and certainly no prisoners. With dual drummers, 3 guitarists, numerous harmonicas and often a 12 string guitar thrown into the mix, the allure of GizLizWiz is the density of sound that this creates. One would think that having all of these mirrored instrumentation techniques would come across as overwhelming, out of time, or at best, echoey. But it is not overbearing; it creates more of a sonic ripple that works its way through the audience to reverberate around every skull cavity in the venue. And bounce it did - the lively lads inspired an equally lively mosh pit and a healthy dose of audience crowd-dives.
Against this mad scene, frontman Stu Mackenzie busted out his flute. Clutching this behind his back whilst singing, he looked like a nervous schoolboy getting ready for a Mozart recital. Funnily enough, nothing about King Giz is school-boy-esque: the band on stage seemed like they were the kind of kids who got suspended for ripping bongs behind the bike racks and writing ‘Dickhead’ on random paraphernalia (See Figure 1), not the kids who joined the school band. Aussie schoolboys or not, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard played with the technical proficiency of a Krautrock ensemble with a penchant for old kooky Japanese guitars.
They were a mixed bag filled with future-classic nuggets of Australian psychedelic rock treading a different but equally triumphant path to Tame Impala.