Australian psych-rock group sells out in Denver

Photo: Korina Rojo • CU Denver Sentry


Australian psych-rock group King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard brought their trippy experimental psych sounds to the Ogden Theatre on Oct. 4. Their sci-fi influence was quite the guiding force as their hypnotic tunes turned the Ogden into an hour-long cult-like gathering.

Photo: Korina Rojo • CU Denver Sentry

The name of the band came from lead singer Stu Mackenzie wanting to name the band “Gizzard Gizzard,” while another band member wanted to reference Jim Morrison’s pseudonym, the Lizard King. Matching their namesake, the band delivered their surreal experimental sound throughout the night.

Mackenzie performed with a flute during one of the songs while colorful abstract scenes were projected on the back wall. Each song had the band’s own artwork displayed throughout the performance. Listeners were immediately bludgeoned with the group’s hypnotic guitars.

X-marked hands were seen moving in the air along to the erratic tempo. Attendees were all seen intensely bopping their heads throughout the night. One fan was seen crowd surfing, eventually landing himself a few feet from the front of the pit. The old theater absorbed the dark melodies as cannabis smoke was seen swirling throughout the high ceilings which could have intensified any music lover’s experience.

Photo: Korina Rojo • CU Denver Sentry

This eccentric group definitely demonstrated their transformative sound throughout the night. Some of their music is unsettling, especially when their two drummers play simultaneously with dark, erratic guitar riffs.

For the sake of narrowing down their musical style, picture the Flaming Lips and the Oh Sees having a baby with Pink Floyd. The group consists of several musicians: two drummers and three guitarists, two of which are also vocalists and perform on synth and harmonica. The band has a spasmodic style that belongs in a dystopian universe, but it bodes well for the already surreal band.

The songs they performed were from one of three albums released this year: Flying Microtonal Banana. Their song “Nuclear Fusion” was drenched in pure funky bass chords with distorted pulsating vocals. The beginning bass riffs vibrated throughout the aged theater, sending shivers down audience members’ spines.

The Australian musicians have continually delivered a fresh sound as they are already performing their third album for the year and have a total of eight albums (their debut being released in 2012). Every song provided a different perspective as an abundance of eclectic melodies were prevalent. Distorted static glitch designs flashing in the background reminiscent of a broken TV screen were interchanging after every song, providing a unique color theme for each song.

The nonagon geometric design from their 2016 album Nonagon Infinity was seen projected onto the wall. The band’s fansites speculate this nine-sided geometric design on the screen reflecting onto the theater’s wall may be a portal into another universe, a fact courtesy of Reddit. This conspiracy may have been inspired with the beginning of their song “Robot Stop” as Mackenzie sings “Nonagon Infinity opens the door.”

The psych lizard wizards definitely left quite the impression as they performed to a sold out crowd. Their popularity was clearly proven in their first-ever Denver visit.

Listen to their latest album: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

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