Photos & Review by David Lacroix.
King Gizzard sure have been friendly to Vancouver. After playing Quarters at the Biltmore, Nonagon Infinity at the Rickshaw, Flying Microtonal Banana at the Vogue and Murder of the Universe at the Commodore Ballroom, Gumboot Soup at the Malkin Bowl and Infest the Rats Nest/Fishing For Fishes at the HarbourFront Center, King Gizzard has seen many sides of the Pacific city and has always come back needing a bigger venue. Despite a loyal fanbase returning to each show, the sheer size of the crowd at the PNE Forum indicated that this would be the first KG concert experience for most of the audience.
For a veteran KG fan, the current tour is something completely new. Not included on the band’s 2020 tour, Vancouver lucked out on getting onto the rescheduled tour. After several years of lockdowns, many of the audience had been waiting many years to see the group live. Half a dozen albums later, KG’s new body of work demanded most of the setlist’s focus.
Playing support was Leigh Senior, a delicate yet powerful Australian folk singer who also provided spoken word poetry on Murder of the Universe. Strumming her guitar amongst a deep and saturated blue backdrop, Senior spun a dreamy, mesmerizing Jonnie Mitchell-like aura that was unfortunately unsuited for the large, dissonant venue. The crowd appeared nothing but supportive for the opening folk act, she is on the Flightless record label after all. After waiting several years to support King Gizzard’s north American tour, Leigh Senior registered as an evening highlight.
KG wasted no time in getting the crowd going, too much in fact. The audience lurched forward as the band slaughtered a rendition of “Planet B” following up with “Gaia” for a one-two eco-themed metal punch. Stu McKenzie and company had more space onstage with their new single drummer setup. Musically, the band meandered through from song to song, shredding and improvising on most pieces, most notably the early rendition of “Slow Jam,” where Stu & Co. appeared to attempt to reduce the mayhem in the crowd after a metal heavy opening. Breaking a flute, McKenzie tried to work on the audience’s mellower side.
Vancouver is notable for being the first performance of Murder of the Universe with Leah Senior; her voice sparkled across the echo heavy concert venue. Jason Galea, King Gizzard’s album, poster and visual artist, beamed extremely stimulating lines, colours and distortion on the band throughout the night.
The night was not without humour. “Here’s some songs about vomit and piss” quipped the band, perhaps in reference to the venue’s inside port-a-potties. The band’s end of set featured a few standouts from second singer Ambrose Burnside who mellowed the audience out with “Work This Time” and closer “the Dripping Tap.” Ambrose explained that he wrote the later song during COVID lockdown when he couldn’t get a plumber to come to his house. The epic twists of “The Dripping Tap” are sure to make that song a concert favourite.
King Gizzard deserve a hard earned reputation for an amazing concert experience and Vancouver’s latest showing at the PNE Forum was no exception. Legions of new fans literally lined up by the thousand to buy merch. The crowd made up a colourful sea of lizard tea shirts. King Gizzard’s 2022 set is an entirely new experience compared to the band’s previous tours. With a relentless amount of new material, King Gizzard’s creative tap is far from shut.
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard
Photos & Review: David Lacroix