As far as Australian psychedelic rock bands go, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are the archetypal of relaxed offstage, completely absorbed onstage. Speaking to them before their allocated set, frontman Stu Mackenzie and drummer Eric Moore seemed excited for their set, and wanted to pack as much as possible into their 35 minute set.
They’ve been to the UK before, taking a tour in 2015 which included a rather ‘cosmic’ Glastonbury Park Stage set. Now they’re back to take on Europe with a strong list of UK tour dates, as they look to build on their foundations as an act to see in this popular stopover for Australian musical talent.
Heading over to the Festival Republic stage on Saturday, singer/guitarist frontman Stu Mackenzie is channeling the inner energy of AC/DC’s Angus Young, clad in shorts, high gym socks and all. Not only does he do all the head-banging and guitar riffs, but has time to fit in singing and rather strange catcalls/elongated whoops in between.
Unlike their Australian cousins (not literally), Tame Impala, they reject the sometimes chilled persona associated with psychedelic rock. King Gizzard consist of a different form, a louder more continuous sound, skipping the slow intros typical of the Floyd or mid-song breaks Tame Impala use. The crowd reacted loudly to the 9-minute single ‘Gamma Knife’, among others. The intensity of King Gizzard becomes only greater as the set continues because of the content of their albums, which take a structure of perpetuality with one song morphing into another, and only becoming louder as the set progressed.
At Reading Festival, gauging excitement can be done rather accurately by correlating it with the number of fans being pulled out at the front of the stage by security (as seen with Twenty One Pilots on Friday). And as King Gizzard’s set reached it’s all too sudden end, that number quickly began to rise. The long, ruffled hair of Stu Mackenzie and King Gizzard is certainly a defining feature, and one that they have in common with some of Australia’s greats to come before them. But it’s their innovative sound and outstanding live performance that will soon allow them to join their ranks.