It was 12:48 a.m. on June 10, 2022, when King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard fully liquified my brain. I’d come to Barcelona to accompany the band for five shows over six nights, including the beloved Primavera Sound Festival, to peek behind the proverbial curtain of the six-man Australian band. And peek I did.
Since forming in early 2009 when some of its members weren’t even of legal drinking age, Gizzard has released 20 esoteric studio albums: early, heavily Oh Sees-indebted recordings like 12 Bar Bruise quickly became more psychedelic (Float Along - Fill Your Lungs); an album composed as one 41-minute loop that somehow won the best hard rock/heavy metal award at Australia’s equivalent of the Grammys (Nonagon Infinity, at the 2016 ARIA Music Awards). Five releases in 2017 alone dabbled in bizarre microtonal tunings, stoner jazz-rock and a concept album about a God-like robot that yearns to destroy and/or vomit up the universe. Then came thrash metal homages so spot-on that they pissed off lifelong thrash metal fans (Infest the Rats' Nest), pandemic-necessitated, genial synth-rock detours (Butterfly 3000), and little bits of everything in between (this year’s vinyl-only Made in Timeland and the 16-song, 80-minute April release Omnium Gatherum).
With only the occasional mainstream press hit, even less radio airplay, and frequent comparisons to the jam band scene, this anti-buzz band has become a cult movement. The “Gizzverse,” a fan community known for creating their own band-sanctioned bootlegs and merch, pick apart every nuance of the band’s music on Reddit and follow them to every corner of the globe. In Spain, I wondered how far they could take their jamming: on the road with them for five shows, I quickly realized I wasn’t prepared for the answer.