Photos By: Minivan Photography
Before San Diego had time to scrape up the pieces of their minds that had been blown all over El Cajon Boulevard from the last time King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard played Soda Bar six months ago, the 7-piece Melbourne band was back. And they blew them all over again.
Playing to a packed house which mostly consisted of long-haired ruffians who could easily be mistaken for the band’s eighth, ninth, or tenth member, fellow Melbourne band The Murlocs, fronted by King Gizzard’s synth and harmonica player Ambrose Kenny Smith, kicked things off. They played a deep and dirty style rock and roll, with the fire and brimstone soul of a Southern Baptist preacher. Smith danced around with an demented intensity, whipping out his harmonic in the lulls. The drum set was situated dead center of the stage, with lead singer Smith and fellow Gizzard member bassist Lucas Skinner lurking behind. My favorite part was watching guitarist Mladen (originally from Siberia!) whip around his sloppy man-bun so hard that by the end, it was a man-bun no more. Just a whole lot of hair.
With PBR cans a’flowin’ and DJ Mike Turi blasting the salty pysch jams, the crowd was loose and ready for the Aussies. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard crowded onto the stage, with their two drummers situated right up front again. Their past Soda Bar show was more of a full psychedelic freak-out with trippy rainbow projections in support of 2015’s psych-rock Paper Mache Dream Balloon. They decided to keep it simpler this time around and let the new songs; new style and always improving musicianship speak for itself.
In support of the brand new Nonagon Infinity, which has been described by front man Stu Mackenzie as a “never-ending album”, they played straight through new song after new song in one continuous and seamless jam session, including popular tracks like “Robot Stop” and “Gamma Knife”. The energy was electrifying the entire set, amplified when a panda crowd-surfed the entire length of Soda Bar. Mackenzie whip out his signature flute and drummers Eric Moore and Michael Cavanaugh played so succinctly; I thought I was watching a drum competition. It was nothing short of incredible. Now excuse while I go scrape up what’s left of my mind.