King Gizzard & The Wizard Lizard, Live in San Francisco '16, ATO | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Thursday, January 28th, 2021  

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

Live in San Francisco ’16

ATO

Dec 03, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


There’s something incredibly satisfying about a live King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard album. The band’s approach to their music, their interactions with a live audience (frontman Stu Mackenzie’s occasional “yuuuup,” for example), and the sheer energy that pulsates from every corner of their setlists. 

Every live album from the Melbourne six-piece feels like a different experience. The sets each have a different flavor, the crowd brings a different personality to the material, and the songs themselves are somewhat different every time. 

Live in San Francisco ’16 is the band’s sixth live album release of 2020, marking the oldest set of live songs released by the group. Recorded at The Independent, the album’s 13 tracks most prominently feature material from 2016’s Nonagon Infinity and 2014’s I’m in Your Mind Fuzz. The opening five-song suite of “Robot Stop,” “Hot Water,” “Big Fig Wasp,” “Gamma Knife,” and “People-Vultures” start the rollicking at a sweaty tempo—a pace that never slows. 

When “Trapdoor” commences, the listener can actually feel the room all these years later. Even “The River” echoes through the speakers as if it were still 2016. It’s that timelessness that is a true reward for King Gizz fans. When everyone is stuck at home, this band has amassed a mountain of recordings and footage (see Chunky Shrapnel) to delight and entertain people all over the world.

The setlist is punctuated by the sounds of fans, either remarking at the band’s roster (“they have two drummers,” someone screams) or that delightful moment when someone in the crowd loses their glasses at the end of “I’m In Your Mind Fuzz” and a bandmember returns them: “They’re yours? Aw yeah yeah yeah. Nice!” 

But it’s in the closing 22-minute medley rendition of “Head On/Pill,” in which we hear elements of the open in the closing medley, that we see a different side of The Gizz. A confidence, a playfulness, emerges—an attitude that has always been and will always be a penchant of the band. It’s a joy to track this band, and to write about what they do next. (www.kinggizzardandthelizardwizard.com)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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