April 10, 2017 2 Vogue Theatre
By. Jennie Orton
After a cutthroat game of knifey spoony, it would appear that Australia has wrestled nearly all forms of rock music away from this side of the pond fair and square. April 10th, the Vogue theatre hosted two imports from Oz that were decidedly tighter and more fully formed than most local bands attempting the same sound: three-piece doom/psych rock group Orb and the 7-piece monstrosity that is King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.
The former was an excellent choice to prepare our ears for the odyssean setlist King Gizzard had put together. Orb started out as a doom act because they thought it would be funny for members of a band with roots in R&B tinged indie rock would branch out to form something sludgy and mean, but the result is ironically unfunny in how effing good it is. Definitely more psych than other doom bands, Orb is a ride of confident musicianship and throbbing riffs. Zak Olsen’s guitar boasts a multiple personality as it switches from a quaking drone to a talkative wah wah in a single breath. Particularly impressive after the Inigo Montoya trick of switching over from the bass halfway through the set.
King Gizzard was the real brain melt of the evening, however. Boasting a candy store of stringed instruments and a pair of drummers facing each other on stage like it was high noon, they vaulted the audience through a relentless setlist of tracks off the new album Flying Microtonal Banana, a sonic and compositional high point for a band already proven in the category of craftsmanship, as well as some older favorites. A true high point of the new material was “Nuclear Fusion”, a strumming rumbler that sounds like it is actively kicking up white sand in the desert of Alamogordo New Mexico where the Manhattan Project actually took place. Another standout, “Doom City”, sounds like the soundtrack that would play if an actual Mastodon trampled the theatre; a large and mean and unforgiving hard psych rock jam that sounds exponentially larger when unveiled on a live stage. With vocals that sound like dialogue from a Kenneth Anger movie and riffs that unravel for miles and miles, this is music written by people who know the desert and it’s lawless and unrelenting horizon lines. By the time they shook us with the unstoppable fave “Robot Stop”, we were all war boys ready to follow this 7-headed steel beast out into the dusty ether in search of Valhalla.King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Vogue Theatre