Trudging down High Street for a gig on Wednesday night, it would have been easy to just succumb to the mid-week lazys and stay home. But when a band as fun as King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard say they’re playing a gig, oh and it’s a preview of a new album, you realise that this is Melbourne and live music beats out your couch and that TV show you were going to marathon ’til midnight.

In the already busy Northcote Social Club, Nick Allbrook climbs onstage, shedding obligatory Melbourne winter trench coat and standing before glitched visuals of colour bands and soundwaves. It was an immediate change of energy from his other projects ‘Pond’, ‘Allbrook/Avery’ and ‘Tame Impala’, aided by an iPhone drum machine and a plethora of effects pedals. Described by fellow audience member as the “perfect music for a hump day night”, Allbrook’s music is a surreal fuzz of psychedelia and garage, weighed down by effects and a simple beat. He mumbles casually between songs, so much so I missed almost everything he said, conserving his vocals for the songs as he belts, screeches, wails (how many more synonyms can I get in before it gets too much?). People coming early for nothing more that Allbrook’s well known onstage physical insanity just had to make do with his amazing music instead.

Coming on stage and beginning with a cheeky “can we play now?” to the front of house, King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard hurled into opening track ‘Pill’ off newest album Float Along – Fill Your Lungs. It was an epic, proving that even within a genre of music that is casually classed as exploratory and frenzied, King Gizzard are tight as. The song lasted for well over 5 minutes but it was a journey in itself and proved a great opener to the album. The theremin was ditched for the drumkit, with splashings of tambourine and shakers. Two drummers gave the new songs a killer punch, underneath the slightly surfer rock guitars and grungy megaphone style vocals the beat thumped like a menace.

Alternating vocals between different members, each song had a different taste but were definitely all from the same plate. It being their second album for 2013 you would think that this album would be hashed off as a collection of b sides, but I don’t think that’s the case. Having not heard the previous album I can’t make that statement, but just hearing the songs played as they are on the album, it sounds like its own resolved story.

Last song off the album seemed to sway into a strange mix of middle eastern didgeridoo? I don’t know maybe my ears were betraying me at this point. After a slight hitch in the electronics the song started, slow and cool kinda like a journey through the clouds (those projections really spurred my imagination didn’t they?) it felt like a ‘calm down’ song, wrapping up the album preview to make way for what was written on their setlist as “whatever”.

And it really was, throwing suggestions at each other of what to play next and having some input from the crowd, King Gizzard played a small selection of songs off other albums, highlights being ‘Willoughby’s Beach’,  ‘Elbow’ and the ever crowd pleasing ‘Footy Footy’. It was a great way to the energy in us all to get through those dreaded last few days of the working week.

Nat Rivers


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