King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard Transcend to New Heights in Amsterdam

By now we’re all aware of the fact that King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard can pretty much get away with anything to varying degrees of success. Whether it be thrash metal, electronic, jazz or any other genre under the sun, these six prolific Aussies have become notorious for never staying in one place for too long. And it seems to be paying off, with each new album and subsequent tour reaching more and more people. Long gone are the days that you could catch Stu Mackenzie and co. in clubs or venues with a capacity under 1,000, their status as cult band now having seen them transcend to new heights. Their show at Amsterdam’s 6,000-capacity AFAS Live was the latest testament to this, selling out well ahead of time. 

King Gizzard avoid playing any song two nights in a row, also making sure not to play anything they played on their previous stop in a certain city. That ruled out 32 songs in Amsterdam (the 18 from Hamburg a night prior, and the 14 they played in Amsterdam last year), but when you’re a band with 25 albums that simply just is not a problem. Opening on 2017’s prog behemoth Crumbling Castle, it became instantly clear why tickets for the show were in so much demand. Segueing seamlessly into frantic Polygondwanaland closer The Fourth Colour, the intensity remained high as they dove straight into a quartet of thrash metal songs. Among them was Dragon, the highlight from last year’s monstrous PetroDragonic Apocalypse. It’s only featured a handful of times since it came out, with fellow PetroDragonic track Flamethrower receiving only its third live outing since making its debut in Brussels last week. It was a thrashing double whammy which the Amsterdam crowd embraced with open arms (and crowdsurfers). 

Moving on from metal, things took a turn for the microtonal with Pleura and Rattlesnakes, two tracks with each their own contrasting energies and qualities. The former borders on prog, whereas the latter is just seven minutes of madness which was preceded by an instrumental jam. Fan favourite – and contender for Gizzard’s best song – The River made an appearance along with bluesy and sprawling The Bitter Boogie, which made way for yet another live debut. Since the current EU tour kicked off, the band have unveiled a number of songs from their upcoming 26th album. Daily Blues is the third such song, encompassing all sorts of bluesy elements across nine sweet minutes. Ambrose Kenny-Smith’s iconic harmonica tones are in plentiful supply, slotting in nicely alongside fellow new cuts (unplayed in Amsterdam) Sad Pilot and Le Risque.

Over the course of two hours, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard wheeled out a number of the strongest songs in their catalogue, rounding out the night with the final chapter of their 2017 album Murder of the Universe, complete with the now-iconic Han-Tyumi’s narration. You won’t find many bands play in front of a screen projecting the line, “I am a black hole shitting into the void”. But then again, most bands aren’t King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, and modern rock/guitar music is all the more exciting for it. 

Listen to the entire show here