King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard at the Olympia Theatre, Dublin, 23 February 2018
In The Olympia on Friday night, the chances of being whipped in the face with a dreadlock have never been higher.
Support in the packed out theatre comes from recent collaborators Mild High Club, who are a perfect opener while the crowd squeeze into position. Their jazzy lounge music has enough in common with King Gizzard’s more abrasive brand, but their lower tempos and meandering solos whet the appetite for the meatier stuff to come.
After setting up their own gear, King Gizzard begin things with a touch of theatricality that befits the imposing, multi-drummer seven-piece set up. Complete with ominous robotic narrator in the background, they kick off with four songs from last year’s ‘Murder of the Universe’, a loose concept album that sounds like Star Wars soundtracked by Led Zeppelin.
When this little run culminates with Lord of Lightening, the crowd get their first opportunity to flex their moshing muscles, which is eagerly taken advantage of. Sparking these reactions is something singer and guitarist Stu Mackenzie takes pleasure in throughout the gig. With sporadic lunges towards the Marshall stacks, guitar in hand, he controls the feedback like a demented conductor. In between tongue-lolling convulsions, he also takes a minute to remind the crowd to look after each other.
‘Murder of the Universe’ of course is not their only album from the last year. In fact King Gizzard are the proud owners of the auspicious Wikipedia sub-heading 5 albums in one year. As might be expected, they play songs fairly democratically from these and their eight other studio recording over the last five years. Their breadth of material doesn’t put off the crowd, with appreciative ripples of moshing greeting most songs in recognition.
Midway through proceedings, Alex Brettin from Mild High Club ambles back onto the stage like a man going for a coffee, and joins them on guitar for The Book and D-Day.
Rattlesnake’s repetitive thump ups the frenzy a few notches, so that the moshpits in the crowd expand and swirl like the psychedelic visuals behind the band. They briefly break it down a little with Polygondwanaland, which basically means people stop crowdsurfing for a minute and Mackenzie breaks out the flute.
Generally however King Gizzard are pretty unrelenting, and Crumbling Castle ramps things right back up until it’s carnage in the stalls during Robot Stop. For music that inspires such an unhinged reaction, the band themselves are treble-twenty precise. The exacting beats of the two drummers are backed up by equally percussive stabs of guitar.
Big Fish Wasp and Gamma Knife also from last years ‘Nonagon Infinity’ keep the tempo up, before they tease things to surprisingly a mellow finish with The River and God Is In The Rhythm. After they noodle their way to the end, the band departs to a raucous reception from a crowd vociferously hoping for one more tune, but to no avail.