Review + Photography by Cain Suleyman

Thunderous drums fill a HUGE room in North London to a sold out crowd. The sound is extra fat and dirty coming from not one, but two powerhouse drummers. Low, ball destroying guitars erupt to tease spectators. A little break. And a whirlwind of chaos sends everyone into one of the biggest mosh pit I’ve ever seen at London’s Alexandra Palace. There is no mercy. There are no points for second place. You either give it your all, or leave. THAT, my friends, is the effect of Australia’s finest band at the moment. I am, of course, talking about King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard.

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Unlike any of their previous albums, we’re seeing a ballsy experiment, which sees the band releasing a Thrash Metal album. I know what you’re probably thinking. They’re a psychedelic band! How the hell can they move to this new sound? Will it sound good? I’m here to report back that I’ve never seen a crowd seem to enjoy a band’s new sound so much! The front spectators knew EVERY word, the mosh pitters knew exactly when the breaks were and as for myself, I was completely astonished by these unbelievable new experience I was caught up in.

They open with Self-Immolate and Mars for the Rich before sliding back to old ways with I’m in your mind. Sometimes when a band opens with new material and then goes back to previous albums, there is a noticeable shift in the crowd falling back into a comfort with familiarity. Not tonight! Tonight, there wasn’t a single drop in energy or familiarity. You could have gone to that gig only ‘liking’ the band, but you would’ve most certainly have left it LOVING the band.

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One thing that really impressed me about King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard is how much they have done in such a short space of time. They’ve been around since 2010, they released their first studio album in 2012 and since then they have released fourteen albums (five of them in 2017 alone). Before I move on, I want to make it clear that not a single one of these albums is bad. So how is it that a band can release SO MUCH material and still hold a fan base and constantly attract more and more fans, whist keeping the originals?

There is a definite evolution to the bands sound that you can see quite clearly in their live sets. They move from the psychedelic Cellophane, to the gut punching The Great Chain of Being and straight into the groovy Plastic Boogie without flinching. It doesn’t feel disjointed and it works so so so well! The first two are pure rock and mosh pit tracks. But Plastic Boogie is just something else. It’s so fun and happy and uplifting. More of a dancing track than the previous tracks and I can see nothing but smiles across the 10,400 faces in the venue tonight. It is truly an incredible experience to remember forever.

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There’s a rare break in the set where vocalist, Stu Mackenzie, says a cheeky hello to the overwhelming crowd. He then says the ultimate sentence to reminisce on old times. “This is a bit different to The Shacklewell Arms” referring to a show about 4/5 years ago at the venue in Hackney Downs holding a mere 200 people. Mackenzie wasn’t wrong. Only seconds after he says this, the band explode everyones minds with Evil Death Roll, a song that set’s off a mass of energy in the pit that will leave at least half of those involved with multiple bruises to look forward to in the morning.

With the worldwide Extinction Rebellion protests taking place only 2 days after this gig, it was only fitting for the insanely fast Planet B to strike our ears for the final stretch of the set. This was swiftly followed by fan favourite Rattlesnake, which was met with an incredible reception. Everyone knew their set was coming to a close and there was the final push of adrenaline, energy and mosh pits to close a night to remember. I’m almost certain that more than 50% of the room was just a major pit of screaming men and women shouting “RATTLESNAKE” at the top of their lungs. For the final circle pit, you could fit a whole house in the centre of the space. In the same way vikings charged into battle, we all clashed for the last time at this legendary gig.

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Setlist:
Self-Immolate
Mars for the Rich
I’m in Your Mind
I’m Not in Your Mind
Cellophane – (Altered Beast Intro)
The Great Chain of Being
Plastic Boogie
Crumbling Castle
This Thing
Boogieman Sam
Mr. Beat
Evil Death Roll
Venusian 2
Planet B
Rattlesnake
Float Along – Fill Your Lungs

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