Concert Reviews

King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard with Sugar Candy Mountain at the Velvet Underground

Photos by Daniela Tantalo

If you still haven’t heard Nonagon Infinity by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, maybe you should go do that now.

Not trying to push you away, but it’d give you some idea of why their performance at Velvet Underground was so spellbinding. Nonagon Infinity, the band’s most recent album, is a series of nine interconnected songs. Each track flows into one another with recurring refrains and motifs throughout. The ending connects seamlessly to the start in an eternal loop. As their eighth album in the past five years, it’s indicative of why this innovative Australian psych rock band is on the rise.

Translated to a live environment, it’s exhilarating. Seven piece bands can be hit or miss, but when they fire on all cylinders the roar is staggering. Kicking straight into “Robot Stop”, the first track from Nonagon Infinity, sent the crowd into a frenzy. Volleys of beer soared as inhibitions fled as lead singer Stu Mackenzie launched into his signature percussive “woo”s. Never lapsing in intensity, the sheer band size meant members had time to rearrange while the rest carried the slack. They hurtled through the first four songs of Nonagon Infinity without stopping, the familiar “My body’s overworked” chorus of “Robot Stop” looping in and out. On stage was a flurry of instrumentation from harmonica to synth, maracas and tambourine, multiple drummers and more guitars than some bands have members. Nothing about this band is simple, but what’d be the fun in that?

There’s a transcendent quality to the best live music that takes you on a journey. When King Gizzard performed, it was easy to get lost in the scope of it all. Eight minutes into rambling garage rock riot “The River”, they peeled back the layers and you stood there wondering where did that flute come from? The band understood the value of ebb and flow, knowing when to hold back before unleashing in a torrent. The room was a box of sweat, hard won through visceral enjoyment. No sooner had they struck the opening chords to another Nonagon Infinity track than the crowd erupted once more. By the time King Gizzard had wrought their way through the twisting 16 minute epic “Head On/Pill”, they had nothing left to give. Not even a baying crowd could pull the band out for an encore. After a relentless and recursive performance like that though, could you blame them? For a mind blowing live performance, check these guys out next time they roll through Toronto.

If you still haven’t heard Nonagon Infinity by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, maybe you should go do that now.


About author

Music writer at Live in Limbo. With an avid passion for all things live and loud, Leon gets down to business. Once he finds his centre he is sure to win. His prose is swift as a coursing river, with all the force of a great typhoon. Insight with strength of a raging fire, mysterious as the dark side of the moon.