WORDS AND IMAGES WARREN MILLAR
Setting off for a gig as late as midnight may seem odd, but when it’s the Australian giants of psychedelic rock, “King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard,” headlining at Manchester’s Academy, you know it’s going to be an extraordinary night. The doors opened at 10 pm with a DJ set to kick things off, and by the time we arrived just past 11 pm, we saw other gig-goers leaving the other three Academy venues, having already enjoyed their fill of bands and artists. It felt like we might have missed out, but rest assured, we hadn’t. Stepping into the venue, it was evident that these antipodean musicians had a massive following—the place was packed.
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, a Melbourne-based Australian rock band formed in 2010, currently consists of Stu Mackenzie, Ambrose Kenny-Smith, Cook Craig, Joey Walker, Lucas Harwood, and Michael Cavanagh.
The night began with palpable anticipation as fans from across the UK gathered, ready to embark on a journey through King Gizzard’s musical cosmos. As the lights dimmed, the crowd’s excitement reached its zenith, and the band kicked off their performance with a breathtaking rendition of “Crumbling Castle.” The relentless drumming and hypnotic guitar riffs immediately entranced the audience.
What sets King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard apart is their seamless transition between genres, and this versatility was on full display throughout the night. Stu Mackenzie’s stage presence was nothing short of mesmerizing. His soaring vocals and captivating guitar skills were complemented by the band’s chemistry. With multiple members swapping instruments and roles, their performance flowed seamlessly, a testament to their musical prowess. The visuals played a vital role in enhancing the show’s experience—a dynamic backdrop of psychedelic animations and vibrant colors danced behind the band, intensifying the hypnotic allure of their music.
One of the standout moments of the night was undoubtedly the performance of “Dragon.” The song’s infectious riff and rhythmic groove sent shockwaves through the crowd, igniting an explosion of energy. The audience was enraptured, moving and grooving to the beats and rhythms. The night culminated in the epic “Rattlesnake,” with its intricate instrumental sections and ethereal harmonies.
In the end, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard’s performance at Manchester Academy was nothing short of a psychedelic masterpiece. They once again demonstrated that they are true trailblazers in the live music scene, pushing boundaries and delivering an unforgettable experience for their fans. As the crowd spilled out into the early morning streets of Manchester, the collective buzz and smiles on their faces were testament to a night that transcended time and space, leaving an indelible mark on all fortunate enough to be in attendance.
Yes, it was a late night and an early morning finish, but boy, was it worth it. We can only describe it as ‘Psychedelic Bliss in Manchester.’
1/ Crumbling Castle
2/ The Fourth Colour (with jam intermission)
5/ The Grim Reaper (with “Torture Chamber” quotes)
6/ Kepler‐22b (with an extended jam)
7/ Work This Time
8/ Ice V
9/ Evil Death Roll
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Warren is a live music and festival photographer based in Cheshire and covers gigs/festivals mostly in the North West of England. He has been photographing live music for over 10 years and has covered major artists and festivals