By Mathew Wilkins
October 9, 2017
VANCOUVER – There are energetic performances and then there are performances that are so lively, so raucous, that they leave us with the type of impressions that last enough to make the Energizer Bunny green with envy — And then there’s King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.
The septet stormed the stage Monday evening in front of a massive (blood red and rotating) projection of the famous nonagon graphic from their eighth studio album, immediately launching into an electrifying live rendition of “People-Vultures.”
The Aussie troupe’s set continued at an unbridled pace, a few band members occasionally taking breaks to take enormous gulps of water or mutter largely incoherent banter into the stage mics. Bouncing from slow, explosive chugs to blistering, strident riffs, they began seeming like some sort of flawless psych rock machine— climbing, clambering, and ambling their way through the night with a deftness almost supernatural.
But speed and energy weren’t the only elements at play in this act’s exhilarating performance. Drummers Eric Moore and Michael Cavanagh played the same impossible drum patterns at exactly the same time; frontman Stu Mackenzie let out banshee-esque howls in between speedy flute solos; guitarist Joey Walker let loose Mongolian-inspired throat singing at a point; and keyboardist Kenny Smith played quick, fluid harmonica licks that sounded like no harmonica you’ve ever heard before. These guys can shred. And shred they did.
When the band reached one of their more popular tracks “Rattlesnake”, the crowd erupted like top-shelf fireworks, throwing themselves around and diving off the stage as if they themselves had somehow found access to the same wellspring of bottomless energy King Gizzard had been drawing from.
The concert continued on like this in earnest until the final few tracks, when the band began introducing new material from their upcoming releases. The new songs were subdued and beautiful, reminiscent of the surfier side of psych rock.
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are a must-see for all those interested in… Well, music. With an incredible amount of stamina—and an even more incredible amount of ability—a performance like this will be stuck in your brain long after you’ve stumbled home.Commodore Ballroom, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard