King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard at The Forum Theatre, Melbourne, Friday June 28 2019.
Approaching The Forum there’s no mistaking who’s playing tonight as leagues of people sporting King Gizzard t-shirts roam the streets. It’s the kind of pandemonium mostly seen for international touring acts, but tonight, the reception is for a band originally hailing from the streets of Brunswick.
Despite a 15-album discography and an international career it’s the biggest room the band has headlined in their hometown, meaning their production can meet the blockbuster heights it was always destined to reach. It’s been a thrilling ride to watch King Gizzard go from strength to strength, and needless to say the grand occasion certainly feels well deserved.
The band have chosen their supports wisely, with punk trio Bitch Diesel complementing Gizzard’s raucous energy, while five-piece experimental act Mildlife suit the band’s more improvised moments. It’s Bitch Diesel who make the biggest impression of the two supports however, and even put King Gizzard to shame with their hilarious stage banter and outfits.
So elaborate is King Gizzard’s set up that the band’s members can be spotted setting up on stage alongside their production crew. When the time comes for their official arrival the white backdrop reveals carefully curated visuals from the band’s long-time collaborator Jason Galea.
It’s anyone’s guess what will make the set given the huge pool of songs that band have to work with. The thunderous drums that open Self-Immolate kick off the evening and it’s high-octane energy from this point forward as more tracks from the band’s upcoming LP Infest The Rats’ Nest are played, including Planet B, a reflection on the environmental crisis that looms large. An ever-popular suite of songs from Nonagon Infinity also makes the cut, with the crowd singing back Robot Stop at an impressive volume.
While the mosh is clearly loving the onslaught of guitar-heavy tracks, the likes of Work This Time and Cyboogie take things down a notch and allow the crowd to take in the dynamic instrumentation on display. Ambrose Kenny-Smith, the band’s resident harmonica player, has six versions of the instrument on hand, while lead singer Stu Mackenzie sits down at a keyboard for a few tracks as guitarist Joe Walker takes over vocal duties.
The band wrap an almost two hour set with another suite of songs from Infest The Rats’ Nest, bookending an exhilarating, career-spanning set. As they now embark on the rest of Australia and then overseas, this tour more than anything is a victory lap for one of the hardest working bands in the country.