On the face of it, they’re your classic seven-piece. Bass, keys, three guitars and… Two drummers. Standard.
I’m not really sure what’s been happening in prog rock over the last three decades but whatever it is seems to have happened in Australia and it’s led to King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, a Melbourne-based septet who fuse the rambling sonic fairytelling of Yes with raw, straightforward punch reminiscent of AC/DC on acid.
Frontman Stu Mackenzie makes frenetic headbanging art in its own right, but otherwise limits his audience interaction to shouting the name of the song in manic staccato and cracking on. So, “RATTLESNAKE” he shouts, and Rattlesnake starts. The lyrics are so blissfully simple (“Rattlesnake, rattlesnake, rattlesnake, rattles me”) and the guitar hook so catchy that the refrain is lodged in your head for the rest of Glastonbury. Which helps if later on you have two hours of Ed Sheeran to get through. Highlight of the set is undoubtedly the symphonic epics Altered Beast / Alter Me from their latest album, which experienced live accompanied by trippy backing visuals is more odyssey than music.
I’m all at sea when it comes to percussion so I ask my drummer friend standing next to me why they have two. Are they playing different things, syncopating, layering the rhythm? No. Apparently they’re just doubling up.
Which sort of sums up King Gizzard. They are, in many ways, gloriously pointless. They come across as seven talented mates who above all want to have a laugh, enabling them to produce psychedelic rock that blends a sense of impending dread with a healthy dollop of fun. Perfect Sunday afternoon fare.