King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard at The Barrowland Ballroom


By Ryan Harley

“G’day Glasgow. We love you, you raucous bunch,” shouted keyboard player Ambrose Kenny-Smith, introducing King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard to the audience at the Barrowland Ballroom on Tuesday night – to thunderous reception from the baying mob in front of him.

King Gizzard are a band that have touched on almost all of the bases that the world of rock music has to offer, pushing boundaries everywhere they go, and accruing an eclectic group of fans along the way.

Throughout their career, they have journeyed through everything from placid alt-folk on Paper Mâché Dream Balloon to the fringes of accepted western musical tradition itself with the experiment into microtonality that is Flying Microtonal Banana. King Gizzard’s fanbase comes from all areas of rock music – and Tuesday night’s crowd was reflective of that.

The venue was packed to the rafters with hard-rock Gen X dads, teenage stoners, psych-rock purists, Slayer-shirted metalheads, and experimental music nerds – all united by a healthy smattering of unkempt beards and B.O.

King Gizzard’s newest venture into the world of eco-thrash-metal on their latest record, Infest The Rat’s Nest, could have proven a challenging listen for some fans lulled in by the band’s earlier, more tame offerings.

But the crowd at the Barrowlands lapped it up from start to finish. Frontman Stu Mackenzie had the crowd firmly in the palm of his hands – leading the band through a blistering set that never once paused for breath.

Back with a revised set for their European tour, their first since Infest The Rat’s Nest’s release, some old favourites didn’t make the cut to the disappointment of some long-time fans – but this discontentment had no time to set in amongst the frantic collection of flailing limbs and mops of hair that dominated the Barrowlands.

Both the band and audience fed off of each other’s energy – increasing in speed and intensity with every moment that passed. The audience spurring on the band’s performance, giving nothing but unbridled adoration in return for the scorching display that King Gizzard supplied them with.

At one point, during one of the scarce moments of calm in the furious pit, an audience member held both hands aloft, clasped together as if in prayer – in total awe of the band in front of him – only to have his moment of serenity interrupted by the surge of the crowd some twenty seconds later.

For some of the extremely fanatical fans in the audience, it would not be too absurd to suggest that this had been somewhat of a religious experience.

The Australian band, despite being prolific in the realm of recorded music (releasing 15 studio albums in less than eight years), have made only a few appearances in Scotland over the years, so the announcement of a show in Glasgow’s most famous venue spurred something of a pilgrimage to Glasgow’s Gallowgate.

The coupling of ear-splitting transcendent rock with otherworldly projected visuals means the experience of seeing King Gizzard live is one that is not easily repeated or reproduced – although many lesser bands have tried.

Undoubtedly one of the most energetic and frankly preposterous bands to ever grace the stage of the Barrowland Ballroom – King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s set will not soon be forgotten by those lucky enough to have been in attendance.