Live Review: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard + Orb – Webster Hall, New York (01.04.17)

It may have been April Fools’ Day when King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard played, but these boys weren’t foolin’. This show was added because they’d sold out the night before, showing their live antics and talent have reached fans on the other side of the world.

Opening act Orb had a strong following, and a lot of fans in the crowd. It’s just a shame they didn’t play well. The sound wasn’t right for their set, with the vocals struggling to be heard over the bass – except for when the lead singer sang off-key – and vibrations from King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s second drum kit.They didn’t appear to be comfortable with each other on stage, and where they could have been jamming and engaging with each other, they stared at the floor… perhaps taking the term “shoe gaze” too literally.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard wandered out aimlessly, and took their time to set up. A couple of sneaky Stonefield members could be seen watching them from above, and they stayed there the whole night. They were the first support band, but because of track-work and an entrenched inability to get ready quickly, I missed their set.

I’ve seen King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s live show twice before, and both times their sets were made up of long guitar solos and jam sessions, a mix-up of the songs of their most recent album, and a whole lot of harmonica. This wasn’t the case for the first half of the set, while they played songs from Flying Micronatal Banana. This album feels less “concept” than the rest and has its subdued moments, which came across in their live set. They stopped between songs to switch instruments which took away from the momentum, and it wasn’t until ‘Robot Stop’ in the second half of the set that they really picked up their energy and created that crazy vibe I was expecting. Adding to that was an acid-trip inspired light show on the screen behind the band, that at one point featured dancing rainbow crocodiles.

The last time I saw them, at the hilariously named “Gizzfest”, the front part of the crowd stormed onto the stage at The Factory and started stage-diving. There was none of that at this show, though many were crowd-surfing and being pushed over the barrier throughout.

The last part of the set featured ‘Gamma Knife’, and a mix up of ‘Cellophane’, ‘Alter Me’, ‘Hot Water’, and ‘Head On’. They finished strongly but didn’t perform an encore, much to the crowd’s dismay. there’s such a strong sense of familiarity and community that abounds within it that indicates its potential for enduring success. are one of the best live acts to come out of Australia, and seeing people in New York love them as much as I do really made the night. They’re no longer that band I decided to see at the last minute at FBi Social (RIP) three years ago, they’re demanding attention from the rest of the world too.

It’s King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s world, we just live in it.

Photo by Nick D’agostina.