King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard is predominantly known for three things – their ridiculous name, their ridiculous release schedule, and the ridiculous levels of consistent quality with every album they put out. The Australian rock group’s latest work, Laminated Denim (which is an anagram of another recent album, Made in Timeland), came out just five days after the exceptional Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms, and Lava – and they’ve somehow got another album, Changes, dropping on October 28th.
As a fan of their work since I was introduced to the band through the infinitely looping Nonagon Infinity, the opportunity to see them live was a dream come true.
Originally planned before the start of the pandemic, the King Gizzard show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre was advertised as a duology of three-hour sets, each also including forty-five minutes of music from fellow Austrailian artist Leah Senior (whose vocals can also be heard as the narrator for the first half of Gizzard’s Murder of the Universe). How can a band as energetic and eclectic as King Gizzard put on a show of that length, two nights in a row, without repeating a single song? I was only able to attend the first night of the series, but from first-hand experience and reports from attendees of the second show, they did it effortlessly.
The show itself was mind-blowing. While their vocals and instrumentation sound great on recording, a whole new level of quality and intensity emerges when they play live. Additionally, while they didn’t have any crazy special effects or pyrotechnics, the entire band had an excellent stage presence. Lead singer (and guitarist, and saxophonist, and flutist, etc.) Stu Mackenzie, as well as fellow vocalist/multi instrumentalist Ambrose Kenny-Smith, were standouts in this regard, their energy keeping the crowd on their feet for the whole three hours.
The crowd, too, was wonderful. Before the show (and at a fan meetup a few days earlier), I had the opportunity to meet so many amazing members of the Gizzard fan community, all decked out in extensive multicolored merch.
The only issue I had with King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Red Rocks show was that I can’t listen to their recorded music in quite the same way after hearing its electric live counterparts.King Gizzard will be performing at Radius here in Chicago on October 15th, but tickets have long sold out. If you do get the opportunity to attend, however, it will definitely be an unforgettable experience.