Gig Review | King Gizzard @ Usher Hall

“They are just as prolific and as adventurous as described. “

For their third UK date, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard brought their setlist of genre amalgamating anthems to life in the Scottish Capital. Within Edinburgh’s gorgeous Usher Hall, anticipation was quickly building for what would be an incredibly energetic night of music and live performing. From my seat in the Grand Circle, situated on the first floor, I had the perfect view to witness the wild antics that Scottish crowds continue to tempt bands and artists with.

As the lights dimmed and the music was cut, there was a sudden change to the atmosphere. Anticipation turned to excitement, and such feelings were not impacted throughout the entire set. Michael Cavanagh, Lucas Harwood, Joey Walker, Cook Craig, Ambrose Kenny-Smith and Stu Mackenzie took to the stage and instantly gave fans the show they’d waited so long to see. As this was their live debut in Edinburgh, the Aussie rockers demonstrated exactly why their popularity is only increasing.

King Gizzard began their set with popular 2022 tune, ‘Magma’, a 9 minute long track full of intricate instrumentals and vivid vocalisations that perfectly ignited the set. This song in particular is definitely distinctive, as is King Gizzard’s style of performing. In some of the tunes, King Gizzard included reprises and jams that either teased a song later in the set, or reflected on a previously played one. For example in their live edition of 2014 track ‘I’m Not In Your Mind’, they played a little portion of ‘Daily Blues’, a segment that was still to be played. ‘Daily Blues’ itself received another inclusion within the 2020 song ‘Minimum Brain Size’, which additionally incorporated ‘Elevator in the Sky’. They finished the gig with

The one thing I would say about King Gizzard’s gigs is that they won’t be for you if you dislike long interludes or instrumental portions. Their music is also quite jumpy in terms of the different styles and techniques they forge together. After 25 studio albums in 15 years, this merging of musical concepts is expected, especially seeing how rapidly these records have been released too. 2017 saw 5 of these albums released in quick succession, with another 3 records being released in October 2022 alone.

At the National Live Music Awards in 2020, Stu Mackenzie received numerous nominations and subsequently won the award for Live Guitarist of the Year. This accolade gave the performance a powerful sentiment and he is a musician you cannot take your eyes away from. The entire band had stage presence and each of their efforts were with appreciation from the audience.

If you didn’t know many songs on the 16-track setlist, then the crowd were just as much fun to watch too. I have never seen so many people crowd surfing at a gig, especially in a venue like the Usher Hall. King Gizzard didn’t fail to incite a controlled, yet still chaotic, energy in their fans. Mosh pit after mosh pit broke out, with one bigger one occurring at certain points throughout the show. At one point during the set, a large group of the crowd sat on the floor and began leaning back and forward as though they were rowing a boat, something I didn’t think I’d ever see.

I am so glad I managed to catch King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard live. While psychedelic and the combination of multiple concepts isn’t normally my thing, I do appreciate that King Gizzard have approached this dynamically distinctive direction in a way few could do. They have a lively level of confidence within their work, and this has paid off massively. To play a sold out show like this in the likes of Edinburgh for the first time is really impressive. King Gizzard provoked and maintained such an electrifying and atmospheric reaction from the crowd, there are few gigs I’ve been to where I’ve wanted to join a mosh pit more. They are just as prolific and as adventurous as described.