King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard Tame at The Triffid, 25th June

On what might be the coldest night of 2016, people from across the land have gathered in full force at The Triffid.  Tonight, the legendary septet King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard kick off their tour in support of their monster new album Nonagon Infinity.  The line curves around the street, every punter shivering in anticipation.  I walk in to be greeted by the warmth of the heaters, or maybe it is body heat; the Triffid is packed.

Orb begin with a thick fuzz of psychedelic grooves.  The guitar weaves in and out of a phaser, the distortion ricocheting around the room.  The bass projecting from the amp is rattling my bones; I second guess standing so close to the stage in fear of my eardrums.  Orb play their new single First and Last Men, which I can only alike to Kyuss’ droning guitars and Black Sabbath vocals.  The effect on the vocals feels straight out of a satanic ritual governed by Ozzy himself.  The length of each song is extended with long solos; each pedal on the board is given its time to shine.  For a three-piece band, Orb have the sound of 20.

The band finish up and I’m finding it hard to move from where I’m standing.  The place is packed and a thick layer of sweat lingers in the air. People have already started stripping off layers.  The crowd are reckless in the wait for the headliner, already moshing to the music pumping in between sets.  It’s only a matter of time before their animalistic instincts let loose.

Finally, King Gizzard make the stage amongst a thunder of screams and applause.  The stage is full; the two drum kits are nestled tightly in behind the guitars.  Immediately, vocalist Stu Mackenzie chants ‘nonagon infinity opens the door’ beginning Robot Stop.  The band follow shortly after, unleashing a sonic fuse that ignites the crowd.  People jump up and down, some climbing on stage to jump back on their fellow punters.  The riffs from each guitar are performed perfectly in time with one another, each occasionally breaking off for a quick solo.  The bending notes of the harmonica can be heard wailing in the background.  The band move without rest into Big Fig Wasp, the motif ‘nonagon infinity’ making an appearance even as they move into Gamma Knife.  Playing out much like their album, each song blends into the next; the two drummers keep the same beat continuous for close to half an hour.

Mackenzie is an animal on stage as he eats his mic, creating psychedelic effects with it engulfed in his mouth.  His tongue hangs out like a wild dog as he shakes about.  The transition back to their 2014 album and begin I’m In Your Mind, moving into Cellophane and I’m In Your Mind Fuzz.  The crowd welcome the older tracks, responding with more crowd surfing.  The set continues with ferocious energy; I’m greeted by a fairly large fan who clearly can’t take it in the mosh any longer.  His eyes are buried back into his skull and he’s panting for air, abruptly coming to a stop when he reaches the wall.  He strips his shirt off to clean off the sweat and rubs his back against the cold, tiled wall.  I find a new place to stand.

King Gizzard begin one of my personal favourites, the River, transitioning from heavy psych to stripped back jazz.  After a tight jam sesh, the band move back to the closing track off Nonagon, Road Train.  King Gizzard should be commended for their performance, not in the studio but in their live shows, whether it’s moving in and out of time signatures with ease, or the fact that they barely stop playing. Kudos to the drummers for their relentless playing even when the guitars stop.  The band show true musicianship; I’d call them one of the best in Australia, truly the best psych band at least.

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