Following their controversial win at the ARIAs for Best Hard Rock/Metal Album, our country’s favourite septet King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard had their annual Gizzfest underway for 2016 with a great lineup of familiar, and new faces to the Australia audience.
Wandering all around the festival grounds of the Coburg Velodrome, it may not have been all that spacious, but there was plenty to see all around the area, including the head of the vulture from King Gizzard‘s People Vultures music video. But what was probably the craziest thing to see was that there were four Coates Hire sheds next to each other where, get this – some of the smaller bands actually played in. To get in to watch the bands play would be impossible, and one would have to stand outside the rest of the patrons wanting to get inside in order to hear the groups play, but it was a unique idea for Gizzfest to do.
Around the main stage were where the more well-known acts were to perform. One of the first to play were Orb, who brought an extremely fuzzy stoner, and even lo-fi vibe through the trio’s sound. Already, Orb had already gained a pretty big turnout when it just passed the 1pm mark and brought out a number of psychedelic acid rock tracks for the fans to enjoy. Halfway through their forty minute set, the band’s guitarist and bassist may had been sharing vocals, but they even traded instruments with each other to sweeten things up.
Next up were the well-received sister quartet Stonefield, who also garnered a great reception from the Gizzard audience. Executing a number off their latest release As Above, So Below and 2013’s Self-Titled record, the girls ripped out a sheer amount of quality in their onstage presence that almost surpassed their recordings. I should also give credit to drummer Amy Findlay for being able to pull off the difficult task of drumming and singing at the same time, for not many are able to perform such a hard move.
Coming all the way from the US were Mild High Club, who were feeling as keen as a bean to finally get a chance to perform to the Melbournian crowd. For that, the psychedelic indie band had their first impression paid off pretty well, with the positive reactions over the new material they performed from their Skiptracing album, giving new followers a dose of what the Chicago/Los Angeles based quintet had to offer.
King Gizzard‘s Ambrose Kenny Smith and Cook Craig even went outside of King Gizzard and commenced with their side project The Murlocs as a warm-up, if you will. Ambrose would get onto being the vocalist of The Murlocs with Cook remaining on his six strings for the group. Witnessing their fifty minute performance, The Murlocs definitely had a different tone to their live setting than their recorded persona, bringing in a chilled atmosphere to surface around the Velodrome.
Perth power group Pond would be the next ones to bring some craziness to the stage, which eventually transcended into the crowd. Not even getting through halfway into the set, Pond discovered that all the Gizzard fans somehow broke the barrier, which led to everyone waiting fifteen to twenty minutes for the barrier to be repaired before getting back to playing some more tunes. After repairs, Pond were back at it again and served plenty of trippy tracks that went from rocky dance music to neo-psychedelia.
The very minute King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard walked on to open with Gamma Knife, there was nothing but absolute chaos roaming all around the pit. With King Gizzard providing an hour long set, the seven-piece provided a number off their latest record Nonagon Infinity along with a few new tracks including Rattlesnake. All throughout their time slot, King Gizzard were bringing a whole new setting to their live shows that felt completely different to that of every other concert they’ve ever performed at. And of course, every other section of the Velodrome was almost empty, as King Gizzard completely packed out the main stage area with the entire capacity number rocking up to see the boys do their magic.
If King Gizzard and co. had to write themselves a list of things they’ve managed to achieve this year, it would seem the Gizzfest would be ticked off in the checkbox, for this year’s Gizzfest became their biggest one to date.