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Archive for the ‘King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’ Category

[POSTPONED: May 2, 2020] King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard / Leah Senior [moved to October 22]

indexI have become a huge fan of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard (are there any other kinds of fans of them?) since I first heard about them a few years ago.

I’m sad that I missed them on the tour just before the first time I saw them (at a smaller venue when newbies like me hadn’t heard of them yet), but I have seen them twice since.

In both cases, the band overcame somewhat unpleasant (to me) situations (obnoxious capacity crowds and unreasonable heat) to change my mind from swearing I’d never bother seeing them again (before the show), to hoping they’d come back really soon (after the show).

I’m not at all surprised that this show was postponed and they have already rescheduled the new date.  So we’re all good.  I just hope the damned air-conditioner works next time.

The last time I saw KGATLW, the two opening bands were kind of doom/psychedelic–perfect matches for KGATLW’s more recent sound.  This year’s opener is a singer named Leah Senior.

Leah Senior did the narration on KGATLW’s Murder of the Universe album.  But her music is a completely other thing.  She sings gentle folk songs with delicate guitar playing and her beautiful soft voice.

I can;t imagine how well she would go over with a rowdy KGATLW crowd and I also wonder if that means that KGATLW would play their more mellow stuff?  Nah.

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[POSTPONED: May 1 & 2, 2020] Sparta / Emily Davis and The Murder Police [moved to July 18 & 19]

indexWhen At the Drive-In broke up, they split into two bands: The Mars Volta and Sparta.  The Mars Volta went in a wild, psychedelic/prog metal direction and Sparta maintained a more tradition heavy rock sound.

I enjoyed the first Sparta albums but I hadn’t heard anything recently.  I considered going to this show because I’d heard they were really good live.

Emily Davis and The Murder Police [EDMP] are an alt-folk-punk band living in the desert southwest with an affinity for writing aggressive, introspective music.  I’ve listened to a few songs and I like what I heard–I feel they are a bit more folk-leaning, but there is a punk edge.

I had tickets to see …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead on the 1st and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard on the second, so the postponement worked out nicely.

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[WATCHED: April 17, 2020] Chunky Shrapnel

In 2020, the ever productive King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard released a soundtrack and a live documentary/concert film.

NME explains:

Chunky Shrapnel was supposed to have premiered earlier this month in two sold-out screenings at the Astor Theatre in the band’s stomping grounds of Melbourne. But the coronavirus pandemic put paid to that, so the movie will now premiere for 24 hours on Vimeo, April 17-18. Stewart promises that plans for wider distribution – including a theatrical release in cinemas around the world – are in the works.

Primary filming was done by John Angus Stewart.  In that NME interview he says

because I was shooting on film, and you don’t really know what you’ve got until you’ve got it processed, which takes a few weeks. I was shooting things, in a way, blindly.

With documentaries about musicians or even about filmmakers, a lot of the time, to give it a narrative thread, they pry into artists’ personalities or whatnot, trying to extract this deeper narrative to make it feel like a three-act film.

But to me, I think [King Gizzard’s] performance and their music is so fuckin’ interesting that you don’t have to do that.

If you like this music, you’ll get an insight into who these people are. But I didn’t want to frame them as these godlike figures, because to me that’s kind of bullshit. They’re just normal dudes.

So what’s the film like? (more…)

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[ATTENDED: August 30, 2019] King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

I’ve already stated that I’m really happy for King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard that they are finding so much success here.  I mean in Philly, they jumped from a 1,500 to a 2,500 capacity venue.  Plus, they got to headline a concert in Central Park.

One of the guys in line next to me had been to Central Park the night before as well.

But I couldn’t believe the line to get in the place when I arrived 30 minutes before the opening band was supposed to go on.

Turns out most people are there for the merch.  The merch line was insanely long.  And, when the show was over–I have never seen this before–they had a hand written sign that said “all King Gizzard shirts and posters are sold, why not try our vinyl?”

Not band for a bunch of guys from Australia with a goofy name and a completely unpinnable style.  Indeed, they have released two albums this year and one was a full-on blues boogie type pf album and their most recent release was a blistering heavy metal album in the spirit of early 80s thrash.  And they played songs from both of those albums (as well as ballads and just about everything else). (more…)

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[ATTENDED: August 30, 2019] ORB

After the great stoner/groove vibe of Stonefield I still wasn’t If I had missed ORB or not.  We had heard a band playing while we were waiting on line, but it seemed too early for the opening act to end.

On the other hand, ORB went on first in Central Park the night before.

Well, we didn’t need to worry because after a very brief window, ORB came out and continued with the stoner/groove vibe.  They impressed me by adding a whole lot of prog elements to their songs–time changes, keyboard solos, extra long drum fills, nifty riffs and long songs. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: August 30, 2019] Stonefield

I was very excited to see King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard again.  I was a little less excited that they were playing at Franklin Music Hall (formerly The Electric Factory).  I’ve had some pretty bad show experiences there and the venue is fairly narrow and quite long.  (Although good for KGATLW for moving from the 1,200 capacity Union Transfer to the 2,500 capacity Franklin (not sure if they sold out)).

My worst experiences were with parking–huge lines, high fees.  Then I discovered you can park for free on the streets a couple blocks away, so that made things much better.  But those parking issues often meant that I got in the building later than I wanted to.  For Nick Cave I was so far back I was next to a very ill-placed bar in the middle of the floor.  Franklin has removed that bar, thankfully.

So, I made sure to arrive super early (for me).  Doors opened at 7:30, show at 8:30.   I arrived at 8 and the line to get in was around the building!  Usually people don’t arrive all that early for shows–they blow off the openers, which is fine by me.  But this crowd was nuts.  Turns out Franklin is REALLY slow about checking people in.  Not as bad as the abyssal Starland Ballroom, but pretty bad.  I did not get into the building until 8:25.  Which is unbelievable.  We also heard a live band playing while we were on line, which we all assumed was the opening band going on early (it wasn’t, I have no idea what it was). (more…)

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a1699739273_10nyorkerSOUNDTRACK: STONEFIELD-Bent (2019).

Stonefield is a band of four sisters from rural Darraweit Guim in Australia. Drummer and lead vocalist Amy Lee Findlay (the oldest sister) formed the band when she was 16. The band includes Hannah on lead guitar and vocals, Sarah on keyboards and vocals, and Holly on bass guitar (Holly was 8 at the time, and has turned 21 this year).

They are opening for King Gizzard And The lizard Wizard tomorrow night and I’m really looking forward to seeing them.

Bent is their fourth album and is full of psychedelic stoner rock.  But their songs aren’t epic (even though they sound epic).  The longest songs on the record are just over 4 minutes and the whole album is just over 30.

What sets their music apart is the inclusion of a retro 70s sounding keyboard.  Their songs work with big rumbling riffs; low bass and crashing drums are the name of the game for Stonefield.

Amy’s voice is often slightly echoey, and it works well as a contrast to the heft of the songs.  When the harmony vocals are added it sounds even better.

But it’s the keys that really display the sound.  The keys do most of the solos and many of the lead melodies (unless that’s the guitar pitched to sound like a keyboard).

Some of their songs are faster: “Dead Alive” even feels a little dancey.  Some have a bit more of a metal edge: the main riff of “People” throws in an unexpectedly dark note before propelling off with a ripping prog-rock keyboard solo.

A song like “66” is three and a half minutes long, but the lyrics are only present for a few seconds in the middle: a hazy chant of

Reflection of the one
Confusion has begun

The lightest moment comes in the 85 second “Dignity” which is a pretty keyboard melody accompanied by light drums.  It works as a kind of introduction to the very heavy “Shutdown” which has a surprisingly catchy chorus.

The album ends with the excellent “Woman.”  This is a great disc and I hope it becomes available in the States soon.

[READ: August 28, 2019] “Friendly Skies”

This is a story about a terrible flight.  Since it was written in 2000, it doesn’t ring entirely accurate for 2019.  Especially when one of the passengers gets rowdy.

Eileen is flying from L.A. to the east coast.  She is exhausted from the delays, a little drunk from the booze during the delay, and not very happy about leaving L.A.

She looks out the window to see that one of the engines in on fire.  She utterly freaks out, internally.  But the guy next to her is furious.  He starts banging on the seat in front of him and when the pilot says that they are returning to LAX, he flips out.

Obviously, Eileen is happy that they are going to live, but this guy is mad because he’s going to be late.  He is seething until the guy in front of him calls him an asshole and tells him to calm down.  The man then turns to Eileen–who ignores him–and mutters all kinds of things under his breath.

They land and it is a mad dash as the passengers are given their new boarding information.  While Eileen is heading to her new flight (a layover in Chicago), the obnoxious guy pushes his way past everyone and starts causing a scene because he doesn’t want to check his baggage.

She was sure (and I was sure) that she was going to be seated next to him again.  But no, they are separated by a couple of rows.

The plane was full, but amazingly, the seat next to Eileen was open. She slid into it when she thought it was safe, but at the last possible minute a man came in and  said it was his.  He let her stay by the window though.

Michael turns out to be a very nice person.  He is intent on doing his work, but they do talk a bit and have some things in common.

About half way through the story, Eileen thinks about Roy, a man she is trying to forget.  They were both teachers at a school.  Their relationship was serious.  Until he announced in front of the faculty lounge that he was sleeping with someone else.  And evidently some of the other teachers knew.

She tried to get him out of her mind.  But then the man from the other flight started yelling.  He was screaming for a better seat, “I paid full fare, I’m not going to teak this shit anymore.”  He stormed into the galley and returned with hot pots of coffee.

Flight attendants tried to stop him but he easily bested them, spilling scalding coffee on passengers until he got to the exit and started banging on it, shouting “you’re all going to die!”

Michael hit the man with his laptop which slowed him briefly until he turned and hit Michael over the head with the computer, breaking it and knocking Michael unconscious.

Eileen is fed up with men like this (like Roy) and she was going to act.  Maybe this is why the don’t serve metal flatware on flights anymore.

The story is exciting if not a little predictable..

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[ATTENDED: May 1, 2019] The Murlocs

I was aware of The Murlocs as being the spin-off band from King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Ambrose Kenny-Smith.  I’d listened to them a few times but hadn’t really listened intently.

Then I saw that they were playing at Underground Arts (in the Black Box, one of my favorite venues no less).  I thought it would be a great opportunity to see 2/7 of KGATLW (Craig Cook plays in both bands) before seeing KGATLW again later this year (probably from much further away).

I had also seen just the day before the show that two other members of KGATLW (Stu Mackenzie and Eric Moore) were on the East Coast (a picture of them hanging out with Trey Anastasio(!) has surfaced), so I thought there was chance that they might come down and join Ambrose on stage (they didn’t).  Although I learned that Stu and Eric joined the band for the encore cover of Hot Chocolate’s “Every 1’s a Winner” the night before in NYC (always at the wrong show).

I assumed that this show wouldn’t be all that well attended.  The King Gizzard shows are always popular, but I figured it was a side project by the “second singer” so how crowded would it be?  (more…)

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[ATTENDED, May 1, 2019] Moonwalks

Moonwalks is a three-piece from Detroit comprised of Jake Dean on guitar and vocals, Kate Gutwald on bass and Kerrigan Pearce on drums.

They play deceptively simple garage rock songs.  Their songs are retro and fuzzy, but they have a number of guitar and vocal styles and sounds in their quiver.

And deceptively simple because each song has a twist or turn in it which prevents it from being a simple three-chord, two-minute rocker.

I enjoyed their entire set and have checked out and enjoyed their bandcamp site.

Although as far as I can tell, none of the songs they played are up there (That doesn’t seem right, though).

I also loved the look of the band.  Jake’s glittery lamé shirt, Kate’s moon and stars themed top and Kerrigans’s possibly velvet top (they must have been very hot up there).

I’m not sure why, but Jake reminded me of Thurston Moore–possibly for his look but something about his presence and vocal delivery

I don’t know any of the songs they played, but the first one which seemed to be about “never coming back” set the tone for their set and it was solid right from the start.

They were a perfect band to open for the garage rock Murlocs, but they would work for just about anyone. I hope they go places, because they were really good.

 

 

 

 

 

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SOUNDTRACK: KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD-Live from Gizzfest (December 1, 2018).

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are such a big deal in their native Australia, that they have created their own festival called, naturally, Gizzfest.  It began in 2015 as a touring festival with a dozen or so bands.  2018’s festival was only one day (in Melbourne) and some kind soul recorded it and posted the KGATLW set online.

The set lasted for about an hour and 40 minutes and touched on nearly every release.  It even included a few never before played live tracks from Eyes Like the Sky!

The recording quality isn’t great and you can hear a lot of people talking through the set.  It sounds like it might be pretty far away from the speakers as well.  Having said that, the music isn’t hard to hear (it’s not like it was recorded at a low level) it’s just not very clean.  Having said THAT, it’s not like KGATLW are an especially clean band, since they are often shrouded in fuzz, echo, distortion and more.

The songs are not chronologically played.  In fact, they start right in the middle with I’m in Your Mind Fuzz.  They play the first two tracks, “I’m in Your Mind” and “I’m Not in Your Mind” seamlessly together, including the nifty solos throughout “Not.”

But they do not play the third song (which segues on the album).  Rather, they jump right to Murder of the Universe with “The Balrog.”  It’s an intense start to the show and after a little breather they play the far slower and very delightful “Stressin'” from Oddments.  Unfortunately, the recording is very quiet and more muddy for this song.  Not sure what happened there.

But things get much louder very quickly, as they jump to their then newest album Gumboot Soup.  They play only one song from the record, the totally rocking “The Great Chain of Being.”  To much celebration, they jump into Polygonswannaland’s “Crumbling Castle.”  All the elements are there and they sound great playing it (even if the audio quality isn’t great).  The song segues perfectly into the album’s final track, “The Fourth Colour.”

After all of that rocking, they slow things down but stick with Polygondwannaland with the groovy “Deserted Dunes Welcome Weary Feet” which segues into the middle section of that albums’s “Castle in the Air.”

Ambrose gets to the mic to say they’re gonna to do some silly stuff now.

“Dead-Beat” goes all the way back to their first EP, Willoughby’s Beach.  The really dumb lyrics “pull my finger and punch my face” are so much clearer here than on the album.  I wish I could hear if people are singing along.  Then they play a track from their first album 12 Bar Bruise “Cut Throat Boogie.”  This one is sung by Ambrose and features lots of his wailing harmonica.  Ambrose gets another lead vocal on another old-school one, Float Along–Fill Your Lung‘s “Let Me Mend the Past.”  It’s a respite of slower rock n roll with some nice piano accompaniment.

They play a surprising “Tezeta” from Mild High Club.  It’s slow and groovy with nice clear sound, although I can’t hear if there are any groovy backing vocals or not.

After these slower moments the band roars back with a wild “Rattlesnake” from Flying Microtonal Banana which whips the crowd into a sing-along frenzy.

And then they pause to introduce their special guest: Ambrose Kenny-Smith’s dad, Broderick Smith, writer and narrator of the Eyes Like the Sky album. Broderick does a great recitation and the band plays these rarely played Western songs perfectly: “Eyes Like the Sky,” “The Year of Our Lord” and “The Raid.”

They jump in with the opening to the jazzy wonderfulness of Quarters‘ “The River,” but they only play about 3 minutes of it, because as the band is quieting down during the slow bit (down down down) with the falsetto “a river” backing vocals, Stu starts singing the lyrics to “Wah Wah.”  For a few beats, the “a river” backing vocals continue, which is pretty cool.  “Wah Wah” rips louder and louder and as the song starts feedbacking out, the super fast drums of “Road Train” begin.  For this is the Nonagon Infinity portion of the show.    “Road Train” is the last song on Nonagon infinity so its fun that they do some nonagon infinity chants and then continue with “Robot Stop,” the first song of the infinite loop album.   It’s full of that spiraling guitar and wild harmonica solos.  But rather than seguing into the next song on the record they jump to the super catchy “Gamma Knife.”

The concert more or less ends with “Some Context,” the 46 second riff that’s a transitional piece on Murder.  That’s how they ended the show when I saw them.  It’s a great riff, too.  But they weren’t quite ready to end the show.

After some quiet, they began their 16 minute epic “Head On/Pill”  This version is certainly slower than the record, but it is still trippy.  It’s still got those soaring riffs and chanted vocals.  Things quiet down to almost a whisper around three minutes in, but by 4 minutes, the whole band kicks in for a truly rocking jam.  After nine minutes, they start a medley that begins with a rather quiet “Alter Me” which is more of a jam than the song.  Some more jamming leads to the opening of “Am I in Heaven?”  They end more or less with “Cellophane” which everyone can chant along to.

It’s basically a career spanning set in which they play songs from all of their fourteen releases (in FIVE YEARS), except for their folky Paper Mâché Dream Balloon.

Although the sound quality isn’t great, this is a fantastic show in front of a very happy hometown crowd.  When I saw them back in 2018 they focused primarily on the five albums they had released the year before with six songs from Murder of the Universe, 4 from Polygondwannaland, and 3 each  from Gumboot Soup and Flying Microtonal Banana.  I love that they can play such diverse sets–playing new songs for people who haven’t heard any of them and then playing a whole career’s worth for the locals.

How their sets can stay under two hours when they have that much music is still a mystery.  And yet no one leaves disappointed.

[READ: March 1, 2019] Spill Zone 2

I enjoyed Book 1 but I really didn’t like this part.  For some reason I thought this book had at least three parts.  But it seems that it has ended with book two which makes it all the more disappointing.

I didn’t even find the art to be evocative or charming.  It just felt kind of ugly an over the top.

As the book opens Addison goes to her art dealer and gets a million dollars. Of course she went to the buyer directly, cutting out the sketchy middleman.  And he is not happy about that, so he goes to the North Koreans with some information about Addison and her pictures.  Of course they have no time for bit players like him.

Meanwhile back in North Korea, Don Jae had entered the Spill Zone there and was having visions about the one in America.  He knew he had to go there.  He winds up visting the art buyer.  He gives her some of the radioactive dust so she can truly see what’s going on in the pictures she’s buying. (more…)

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