A King Gizzard Blizzard
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard brought psych punk carnage alongside Mild High Club and La Luz on their NZ tour earlier this month. Some say King Giz are the best live band in the world right now. Are they? We don't know. But maybe Harry Crean does. He got down to one of the four Auckland shows to find out. Take it away Haz.
Kids of all ages piled into Whammy a small underground bar on Auckland’s K Road. They’d read the forecast and knew what was about to go down. An icy cold front of anarchy was set to clash with a scorching warm front of LSD. A King Gizzard Blizzard.
There are 3 Stages to a Gizzard Blizzard.
1. The First Wave
La Luz brought the energy from the get go as the four Californians grooved through their set. Sounds of the 60s. Summer. Single fins and salt. The twang of the electric guitar and the rhythm of the drums wash you out. This, topped off by layers of harmonies is mesmerizing. I fell in love a little.
Fuck... No time Harry, a storms a brewin’.
Tune: Sure As Spring
2. The Calm
If you enjoy moving smooth and taking trips to the moon, join the club.
The Mild High Club are exactly what they say they are. First they inebriate you with a mellow dose of trip-infused chords. They then proceed to pull you through the stratosphere; to another planet where time moves slow and the people dance free.
Maybe the forecasts wrong... there’s not a cloud in sight and it’s all groovy bebe. Hold on... don’t fall for that trap bro, you’ve seen The Day After Tomorrow, keep your wits about ya.
Mild High created some heaven-like state. The people swayed to the beat. It was as if for a brief moment, we forgot about the chaos that was about to ensue.
To finish, some of the King Gizz boys join in for Sketches of Brunswick East I. The misfit orchestra lulls the crowd into a false sense of security…
3. The Storm
Stu Mackenzie hypnotizes the masses with melodies blown from a flute... like a piper dancing with a cobra... rest arrive soon to lop of its head, with a guillotine of heavy riffs from all sides as they charge through their set. Death by vibration. Ruthless execution.
What else is to be expected when you have 3 guitars, a bass, a keyboard and 2 drummers facing off. Chuck a harmonica in the mix, oh and a fucking flute why dontcha. King Gizz have been touted as the best live band in the world in this current eon. And for a fucking good reason, it seems.
The mosh soon turned into a sweaty cyclone of bodies as the boys brought out hefty tracks; new and old.
Crumbling Castle. Rattlesnake. Danger $$$. Nuclear Fusion. Sleep Drifter. Gamma Knife.
Each track is like going over the falls on mongrel close out set. You get picked up, thrown down and held there. Any sane person would ask why the audience does it to themselves, and to be honest I couldn’t tell you. It could be the rush. It could be the sound. It could be the escape from the numbing and repetitive realities of ordinary life. Who knows. It’s like the smell of diesel- it’s not pleasant, it’s probably bad for you, but you kinda like it.
“Rattling ‘til your dead!”... Wait up, are we surviving this one? This weather! In Auckland! In December! A damned Gizzard blizzard!
The fellas ended the night with an absolute journey, a sonic, orgasmic odyssey. Coming in at 10:10 long, The River showcases King Gizzard’s ability far beyond their initially loud and perhaps intrusive face. The band effortlessly blends a metric shit-tonne of instruments to create something beautiful. Beyond the carnage it is balanced, transitioning between sections with the finesse of some psychedelic sorcerer, blending elements to create a potent and very tasty concoction. They can have a mosh turn from mellow to mayhem in a matter of seconds. It’s bloody brilliant.
Tune: The River.
Mosh Meter: 3/6 VB’s
The crowd was slow to start but the heads got banging as the grunt picked up. While it turned into a sweaty mess, as to be expected, most shirts stayed on. The vibe was killer but it lacked that raw chaos that can be seen over the ditch.
King Gizzard produced an insanely polished performance. They traded the heaving Aussie masses of Gizzfest for a small packed out basement and still played their fucking fingers off with mad intensity. They played four nights in a row at Whammy before heading down to San Fran in the capital. On top of this, they’ve released four studio albums so far this year, with rumours of a fifth. The work rate on these boys! A band of the people.
VIVA LA GIZZARD