21st February 2018
Seven musicians. One weirdly named Australian psychedelic band. King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard are known for releasing thirteen full-length studio albums since 2012. And they do not disappoint. Known for their energetic and friendly live performances, it seemed justified, therefore, to attend their biggest gig at the O2 Academy Brixton on the 21st February in 2018.
The O2 boasts 19 venues in London, the majority situated in restored, historic buildings. This supports London’s historical architecture and the importance of it in current London music culture. O2 Academy Brixton has been voted as venue of the year twelve times since 1994. While the O2 represent a corporate, industrial-scale telecommunication services provider, it provides memorable and unique events located in equally unique locations. Undoubtedly, O2 Academies have been undeservedly ignored for their significance and contribution to live music which dominates an unseen London culture.
On first impression was the variety of people attending. Hipster, indie clichés and stereotypes did not define King Gizzard’s attracted audience. There was no shoving or pushing. Laughter and friendly exchanges dominated the “Astoria” inspired theatre, highlighting how gigs create communities and friendships. This contrasted to performances ranging from Mac DeMarco to Temples in various O2 London Academies that I have previously witnessed. Attending the performance was not to be seen and judge by physical appearance but to share similar interests over a band which, equally, has provided their loyal fans five albums since 2017. In a wholesome interview for Loud and Quiet, Stu Mackenzie, leader of the band, acknowledges the financial repercussions of buying five albums in one year and being defined ‘by a business entity’. Financial gain is clearly not the priority but rather to offer various interpretations of Australian psychedelic rock, ultimately supporting ways of communicating and rewarding both parties.
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard offered two sets during their performance with a brief interval. Value for money was certain, but this also offered fans the opportunity to listen to laid back, calmer psychedelic from Flying Microtonal Banana to upbeat, intense rock shown with songs performed from Murder of the Universe. Head-banging or simple swaying were imminent.
Undoubtedly, senses are explored in such an environment. Dark lighting, psychedelic computer animated projections in the background, the stench of beer tossed in the air and the vibrations pulsating from the guitars can range, for some, as invigorating to tranquilizing. Stu Mackenzie proudly strummed his flying microtonal banana, a personalised guitar to imitate a Turkish ba lama. Musical inspiration is, therefore, borderless and spreads awareness of other cultures. ‘Rattlesnake’ from Flying Microtonal Banana started the show where the mosh pit appeared from the centre of a cramped, sweaty crowd. For this certain time, it was politely avoided.