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Show Review - King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard 10/18/22
Last night, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard took over HISTORY in Toronto for an unforgettable and absolutely manic 100-minute set.
Hailing from Australia, KGLW’s incredibly prolific output has resulted in 22 studio albums since their formation in 2010 – including three debuting in the single month of October 2022.
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While I had been introduced to the band almost five years ago with the recommendation of “Work This Time” from the 2012 album Oddments, my first real dive into their music came with the release of Omnium Gatherum in April 2022 – lead single “The Dripping Tap” hooked me with its 18 minutes of furiously shredding guitar and catchy lyrical hooks. While I am not 100% sold on all of the metal tunes, experiencing it live gave a whole different perspective.
Last night’s show had originally been scheduled to take place in April 2020, and after numerous postponements, King Gizzard was finally able to return to Toronto for the first time since 2019.
I arrived at the venue just as the opening act, Leah Senior, took the stage. This Australian quintet was a surprising treat and was a great contrast to the raging show we knew was to come. Gentle and upbeat melodies from Senior and her band call to mind music you’d want to recline on a beach to – if you are seeing a show later on King Gizzard’s tour, do NOT skip the opening act!!
The main event began at 9:15 when drummer Michael Cavanaugh walked on stage and opened the night with a brief gong and percussion solo. The rest of the band then joined him on stage and launched right into “Rattlesnake”.
I don’t know if I’ve been to a concert with a crowd this locked in from the first note outside of the jam band world. Everyone was absolutely losing their minds as guitarists Stu Mackenzie and Joey Walker shredded into a “wall of sound” motif that would return many times throughout the heavy set and was very prevalent through the rest of the set.
The first track played familiar to me came mid-way through with Omnium Gatherum cut “Magenta Mountain”. Walker stepped away from his guitar to add some sparkling synth lines to the more psychedelic tune. I could tell at this point that some of the more metalhead audience members were less engaged, but I ate up every second of the extended “Magenta” as the sextet delivered a fantastic jam.
Walker noted that it was time to get funky as the band leapt into “Ice V” off of recent album Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms, and Lava. Hearing a clean guitar tone for the first time, I very much enjoyed the second consecutive song with more of a jammy side to it.
Craziness returned with “Digital Black” and “Han-Tyumi the Confused Cyborg”, which featured pre-recorded narration overtop of an absolute madhouse of musical sounds. While many may hear this as regular metal shredding, I heard an undeniable element of sophisticated musicianship all tied together by the phenomenal rhythm section of drummer Cavanaugh and bassist Lucas Harwood.
Perhaps the highlight of the night for me came with the closing “Dripping Tap”, probably my favourite King Gizzard song (as I mentioned before). Multi-instrumentalist Ambrose Kenny-Smith, as he was doing all show, absolutely sang his heart out while viciously playing tambourine, saxophone, and keyboards pretty much at the same time.
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard left only destruction in their wake as they torched the sold-out crowd of 2500 last night. If they are playing near you, do NOT miss it!! I certainly look forward to seeing them many more times in the future as their sound continues to evolve and expand to every corner of the musical spectrum.
They are on tour across North America now and their fifth album of 2022, Changes, will be released on October 28th.