King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard | Live At O2 Academy Brixton Review
O2 Academy Brixton | 21st February 2018
Stepping onto Brixton Academy’s well-loved sloped floor, one gets a welcoming sense of electric excitement. This is King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard’s largest show to date, after all, and fanatics are piling in en masse. It’s clear that King Gizzard’s fanbase is both young and diverse; outside is a young man sporting a Frankie Goes To Hollywood t-shirt, which directly contrasts the Exodus fan with a bandana and dreadlocks standing by the barrier inside.
It isn’t long before the group swiftly emerge, opting to open with the explosive ‘Rattlesnake’, causing seas of bodies to ebb and flow to break up the previous gridlock. Black Sabbath-esque riffs and hard-hitting percussion (courtesy of two live drummers) quickly have the crowd in a sweating, heaving fury.
For a group with an extravagantly inconvenient band name, King Gizzard don’t dress in a way that offends. These virtuosos are wearing little more than t-shirts and jeans, as if they were hastily swept off the bedroom floor. Fitting, then, that the entire venue is emitting an odour of beer, sweat, tobacco and cannabis - the stereotypical smell of the modest-dressing ‘open-minded’ and ‘far out’.
It is soon obvious that the Aussies’ artistic prowess is not woven in fashion, nor heard in vocalisations. Instead, the talent comes wholly from the members’ grand musicianship, evidenced by fluent switching of instruments, blistering guitar work and excellent use of sampling. King Gizzard appear to transform Brixton Academy into a neo-spacian, psychedelic underworld, helped along by expertly matched technical work of futuristic and Matrix-like distorted visuals.
The band cheekily end the first half of their set with a timer displayed on the screen behind them, which immediately begins counting down from 15 minutes. This sends the crowd into a panicking mob of bursting bladders and nicotine needers, hurriedly pushing in order to get back in time.
Tantalising notes and screeching keys reverberate well thanks to Brixton’s muddy acoustics, allowing the second half to unfold in much the same way as the first. Despite previous connotations of being relaxed and carefree, the atmosphere inside is not a hazy one - flickers of controlled anarchy continue to erupt as singer Stu Mackenzie takes a Liam Gallagher-like approach, with his hands behind his back and his lips kissing the microphone.
Strange tones akin to a flute can be heard, generating bizarre similarities to Children Of Bodom’s Finnish melodic metal on their atmospheric effort, Hatebreeder. The crowd roars while the septet perform ‘Robot Stop’; the room continuing to heave as the show comes to an end.
And then suddenly it’s over, sans encore or obligated thank yous. King Gizzard dissolve into the backstage as abruptly as they arrived, and in their wake, leave a firm topic to be thought about and then immediately decided on - it is obvious that they are one of the most exciting bands to watch around.