King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard in Brussels: A Rampant End to A Behemoth European Run

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard have played a whopping 97 different songs on their current European tour, a mean feat for one of modern rock’s most prolific bands. Last night, they finished the European leg of their tour (they go to London next) with a sold out show at the Cirque Royal in Brussels. It was the Melbourne band’s biggest show in the Benelux to date, with the room playing host to some 3,500 fans.

Over the course of two hours, Stu Mackenzie and co. whipped out a host of fan favourites, leaving no stone unturned in the process. A pulsating Rattlesnake kicked off proceedings, allowing for a lengthy opening segment entrenched in microtonal sounds. Automation, Honey, O.N.E. and Nuclear Fusion made up this opening salvo, with Nuclear Fusion featuring a fan onstage attempting the song’s intro growl. The mellow Magenta Mountain is a whole other beast live, serving as a lilting precursor to the one-two of thrash metal cuts Planet B and Self-Immolate. The former was introduced as “a song about space monkeys“, with the latter featuring a drum solo from Michael Cavanaugh. Belgian crowds can be quite reserved, but tonight they went all out in their pursuit of sweaty chaos. As the show hit its halfway point, the band decided that energy levels couldn’t subside as they launched into the brazen I’m In Your Mind and its accompanying I’m Not Your Mind, Cellophane and I’m In Your Mind Fuzz. The first four tracks from the 2014 album of the same name make for a raucous garage rock suite live, with its end segueing smoothly into unhinged 2017 cut The Balrog.

The sensual Ambergris (helmed by guitarist Joey Walker) allowed for one last breather as the show headed towards a close. Multi-instrumentalist Ambrose Kenny-Smith leapt into the crowd for deep cut Cut Throat Boogie, which received its tour debut in Brussels (making it song #97). It’s a short, sharp burst of garage rock from the group’s early days, and live it’s a solid slice of energy. The band spent nearly half an hour working their way through the show’s final two songs: Ice V and Boogieman Sam. The former spans ten minutes, fusing spaced out funk with jammy elements. It stays relatively true to its album version, something which can’t be said for Boogieman Sam. On the studio recording (from 2019’s Fishing For Fishies) it’s a blues-by-numbers rocker, bravely interchanging jangly guitar riffs with flourishes of harmonica. Live, it’s elevated to a whole new level as the band use it as a basis to jam endlessly, giving Brussels everything they possibly could. There were hints of AC/DC and a chant of “Brussels, Brussels, Brussels“, with the song – and entire evening – finally winding down after the best part of 15 minutes. Something has to be said about this band’s stamina night after night – let alone playing almost entirely different sets each show.

There’s two shows left on this run – both in London – before the band head back to Australia. They return in August for some festivals and headline shows, but the big question on most fans’ minds is whether or not a new album will accompany the band this summer. The metal-tinged Gila Monster was debuted two weeks ago, with (tentatively titled) Gas Dragon and Flamethrower both also being teased during jams on the road. New music is already on the horizon before the band have even managed to perform any songs from last year’s Changes. Word has it that the songs are still being rehearsed. Brussels was a solid end to three manic weeks for the Aussie six-piece, and the only way seems to be up. Find a full gallery of the show – featuring openers Los Bitchos – below.