Review: GIZZFEST - Melbourne Australia - Review with Live photos!!

 King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard | Photo Stephen Boxshall

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard | Photo Stephen Boxshall

By Darcey Mitchell

Date / Venue: Saturday December 1st, 2018 - Melbourne Showgrounds, Melbourne

The first day of summer in Melbourne brought with it blistering heat and the fourth annual Gizzfest – beloved local boys King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s artist curated music festival. Artist curated festivals have become more and more popular in recent years, rising from the ashes of the large scale festivals we fell in love with in the late nineties and early 2000’s. And it makes sense – as a touring band they have exposure to bands that interest them and make music that they’re excited for, a unique position for curating a festival.

Gizzfest itself has been a remarkable success and this iteration of the festival was no different, with crowds filling the main hall from early in the day. The heat stopped no one from dancing along as Surfbort and Baked Beans opened the festival, both acts easily getting the crowds going in the early afternoon.

Stonefield, who I have not seen live since they were much younger, have grown tremendously as a live act. It was wonderful to watch them interact with their audience and truly command the stage with their take on Australian psych-rock. It was instantly clear why the sisters have become the darlings of the European festivals and I can’t recommend seeing them play live enough.

Following them in the main hall were Amyl and the Sniffers, who have had an incredibly busy year touring around the world, including at one point with King Gizzard in the US. Amyl have been the band on everyone’s tongues this year and its clear why – even after taking a six week break between live shows you never would have known it, their act is incredibly solid, with the entire band feeding off of their audience and clearly appreciating those who took an opportunity to mosh along. Now is the time to see Amyl and the Sniffers play, as you can fully expect that soon they’ll be playing more headline sets and less supporting shows.

Tropical Fuck Storm, who released one of the best Australian albums this year A Laughing Death in Meatspace, closed off their hectic 2018 at Gizzfest. Mostly playing songs off the album, TFS were a sight to behold and a live act you can’t help but move along to. They’re chaotic up on that stage and the audience never knows what will happen next, but its clear that frontman Gareth Liddiard is far more in control than he’d have the audience believe. They finished their set with a rare live cover of the Bee Gees Stayin’ Alive, the perfect screaming end to the show.

All six members of Altin Gün took to the main stage, their delightful blend of Turkish folk songs and psychedelic sounds offering a reprieve from some of the harsher sounds proceeding their show, the crowd appreciating the change of pace. And concurrently to their set Civic were playing on the cave stage, offering a chance to properly rock out and mosh if that was more your pace.

Local Melbourne outfit Hex Debt played a loud and fearless set on the (aptly named) cave stage, lead singer Agnes stalking the stage as their sound filled the cavernous tunnel and the crowd moshed and cheered. Definitely an act to keep an eye on, I look forward to seeing them play in the New Year.

Nice Biscuit played directly after Hex Debt, and were the final act before King Gizzard. In their matching outfits they were completely different and mesmerizing, their music some of the best and interesting that I saw played the entire day. In fact, the best part of the entire Gizzfest for me might just have been finally seeing this performance.

It was their festival, their creation and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard did not disappoint. The audience packed around the stage, the visuals supplied by the bands frequent collaborator Jason Galea mesmerizing the crowd until the band took to the main stage. They played an almost two hour career spanning set, and with such a large body of work to choose from everyone saw at least one all-time favourite song. King Gizzard were the band we’d all come to see, and the crowd showed their appreciation in the most classic of ways; with mosh pits, crowd surfing and plenty of screaming. Not even band member Ambrose Kenny Smith’s broken knee could slow the band down, beyond some manoeuvring on stage with crutches.

Altogether, Gizzfest 2018 was a resounding success – they once again curated the day perfectly with young Australian bands being the standouts throughout the line-up. As everyone spilled out of the showgrounds, talking with their friends about their favourite part of King Gizzards set in the warm night air I could think of no better way to celebrate the beginning of summer and the fantastic music that’s being produced locally and abroad, and can’t wait for the next one.

King Gizzard & the Wizard Lizard

Nice Biscuit

Divide & Dissolve

HEXDEBIT

Civic

ALTIN GUN

Tropical Fuck Storm

Spike Fuck

Bitch Diesal

The Mystery Lights

Traffik Island

Amyl & the Sniffers

Leah Senior

Stonefield

Moon Lover

Surfbort

Baked Beans

U-BAHN