Eastern States Garage heroes King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are touring the country on the back of their latest album, Nonagon Infinity. Accompanied by support act Orb, they descended upon Mojos Bar for their Fremantle leg of the trip. Frontman Stu Mackenzie described Nonagon Infinity as a ‘never-ending album’, it features nine songs connected by musical motifs which flow ‘seamlessly’ into each other. The last track ‘linking straight back into the top of the opener like a sonic mobius strip’. This gig was one of the smallest venues of the tour and was destined to be a killer show, selling out the bar in less than a day.
The touring party had draped white sheets along the back wall of the stage and were operating a projector screen from the bar. As support act Orb entered the stage, they were immersed in projections of stale television static. Orb are a sludgy, Sabbath-worshipping psych unit with a passion for heavy and not much else. The crushingly groovy Geelong three piece powered through a set of tritone-laden fuzzy psych bordering on the bong-smoking Doom metal of Sleep, but undeniably channeling early Black Sabbath at the core of their sound. Flawlessly rehearsed in their intricate compositions, they roared through every section of their set. Guitarist/vocalist Zak Olsen’s Martian-like drone engulfed the room. Orb are a rock-solid jam band that sound like Ty Segall dropped in Satan’s gutter.
Wormholes of colour and shape were projected onto the the weird and wonderful seven piece headliners as they arrived on stage and promptly exploded into the set with Nonagon Infinity’s opener “Robot Stop.” King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s live show completes Nonagon Infinity, alarmingly hypnotic, relentlessly frantic and bursting with infectious energy. Guitar harmonies and screaming harp lines, manic chants and thumping, primal rhythms, leaning heavily on odd time signatures. The group burned seamlessly through the album’s next two tracks without a single break. “Gamma Knife” was a pulsating barrage of estranged psychedelic dance music, while spiraling tunnel projections left the audience’s eyes and ears equally bombarded.
During a rendition of “Trapdoor”, Mackenzie produced a flute from behind the stage for some mid-set flute shredding! A delightful addition to his performance routine of swallowing the microphone whole, barking and grunting through a brick wall of spacey vocal effects. The Murloc’s Ambrose Kenny Smith on harmonica and vocals was also in fine form; his demented harp wails were so central to the band’s sound and far more present in the live show.
2014 single “Cellophane” was the highlight of the show. That thumping bass line whipped the crowd into a stampede wild enough to literally shake the floorboards with hundreds of feet stomping along to the commanding groove. King Gizzard’s infamous sole garage-jazz number ”The River” wasn’t even out of place in this almost confusingly diverse set. Just a testament to the breadth a band can explore with a good sound. The final song was announced. The members of Orb re-entered the stage, shoulder to shoulder with the other seven musicians to perform a rowdy “Garage Orchestra” cover of the 70’s space-tripper’s anthem, Hawkwind’s “Silver Machine”.
You can imagine the sound, but you had to be there.