On April 4th, 2017 I somehow got talked into going to Montreal for a quick drive-in drive-out show featuring a band I had never heard before, King Wizard Lizard’s Blizzard Gizzard, or some such thing.
Now, I’m not the first guy to just jump in my car and drive out-of-province for some new band I’ve barely heard of (nor am I the last, I suppose), but somehow m’lady convinced me it would be a good idea, and shortly after she secured tickets the show plumb sold out, so I figured it might not be so bad after all.
I had never been to the Theatre Fairmont before and no wonder; though it had been outfitted quite adequately for live music it was clearly more of a dance/nightclub than a venue, or at least it was at one point. We parked ourselves at the back of the wide, shallow room and enjoyed both of the opening bands, an all-girl act called Stonefield comprised of four sisters and a Pink-Floyd-ish trio called The Orb, both of which were – like the Blizzard Wizards – from Australia.
That small, stubborn (and clearly masochistic) part of my brain that still harbours an interest in the music business really admired the fact that the Frizzy Gizzard Sizzle Band endured the expense and inconvenience of bringing two (two!) support acts along with them all the way from the other side of the planet, so I already had a little admiration and respect for them before they even hit the stage. That said, when the eight or so musicians picked up their instruments and started chugging through their endless string of angular minimalist melodies I initially found the music a tad boring and very sparsely arranged.
By the third song or so I couldn’t help but notice that one of the guitarists was doubling every word that was sung, and it started to drive me a little crazy. By the fourth song I was openly rolling my eyes and when it continued into the fifth I started wondering how long I would be able to stand it.
But then – somehow – it got good to me. Something about this band’s music was certainly interesting and it started to sink in that the whole “Everything he sings I play on guitar” thing was an integral part of the Dizzy Wizard sound. As a matter of fact, it eventually occurred to me that the bouncing, compound-time through-composed doubled-up riff/vocal line was actually everything to these guys, and right around midshow I started to really, really get into it.
And so did everyone else. The young audience in front of me body-surfed for the entire second half of their set. There was even a dude in a wheelchair who got hoisted above the crowd. chair and all. When the show finally ended I lined up and bought a record, which endured such heavy rotation back home that I ended up ordering their next record online. Turns out they release records faster than I can buy them – never a bad thing – and their return to Montreal sold so well they had to switch it to a larger venue.
I’ve become such a big fan that I finally got their name straight. They are called King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, and they’re freakin’ awesome.