Photographs by Sarah Rix.
“What are King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard?” Someone asked me before we made our way down the alley behind Bar 244, to the narrow staircase that led to the tiny basement room that’d soon buzz and whirr with electricity and sweat and energy like a hotbox of psychedelics and feverish, pulsating grooves.
“Well,” I responded, unsure, “It’s hard to say.”
It’s always hard to quantify experiences like this one, or relate them to someone who might not have a frame of reference. What are King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard? They’re a seven-headed beast from the world beneath. They’re a psychedelic jam band. They’re Australian. They’re awesome.
2014’s I’m In Your Mind Fuzz is King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard at their strange, trip-surfing best. When things get too heady, too real, too far out, there’s that reliable drum and bass combination guiding you along through it; through the album and through the show, through title track ‘I’m In Your Mind’ and its derivatives. Through ‘Cellophane,’ and ‘Hot Water,’ which, if you’re not careful, will catch you off guard and burn you. But, if you’re feeling adventurous, hang ten with an effects-driven harmonica or a lead guitar that leaks treble like a hose out of a gas tank.
Adelaide Hall turned into a sweaty, shifting, worshipping conduit; a chapel for a zombie crowd to hail their psychedelic overlords. Everyone moved and swayed and was pulled all the way in, pulled all the way in for the ride that King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard deigned to take us on.
There’s something about jam bands – if we can call King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard a jam band – and psychedelic jam bands in particular, that create community out of sound. Everyone gets dropped into the same frequency. We’re all there for that ride. We’re all strapped in for the trip. And somehow, some way, the music makes it happen.
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are strange, and their songs are dense and chock-full of instrumental breaks and seemingly off the cuff solos and interludes, and sometimes if you’re not paying close enough attention, you’ll get lost on the strange, heady trip they take you on. But if you’re ready for it, it’s a ride you’ll want to take over and over again. It’s a ride they’ll gladly take with you. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.