8/24/2019, ARAGON BALLROOM, CHICAGO
On August 24th, I trekked out to Chicago to go see King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard perform at the Aragon Ballroom on their tour following their newest release of their second album of the year Infest the Rat’s Nest. Along with them they brought Stonefield and O.R.B. While I’ve only listened to Gizz in the past year, this show was the best I had been to in a long time, for a lot of reasons that I will dive into in this post.
The opening band was Stonefield, a four piece girl band from Australia. Not only are they a girl band, but they are all sisters. They have been a band since 2006, and recently released their newest album, Bent. There are so many aspects of this band that I fell in love with from the beginning of their set. First, Amy Findlay is their lead singer and drummer, and that alone was a treat to watch and listen to. Adding to that, the keyboardist, Sarah Findlay, provided hypnotic organ lines throughout all of the tunes they played. As I was watching them perform I was constantly reminded of a lot of other bands that I love and grew up listening to like Rush, The Cranberries, and even a little bit of Ghost. I ran into two of the sisters after the gig, Hannah and Sarah, and they were both very sweet to talk to. I am very excited to see what this band does in the future and will be following their music closely.
Following Stonefield was O.R.B., another four piece also from Australia. For the most part I was pretty indifferent about their performance. I was mesmerized by the guitarist’s skill, however, that was the only thing that I found to be remarkable about their performance. They lacked stage presence, but it may have just been the night. I couldn’t imagine putting on a 45 minute show every night in a time zone that is so far behind your own. Again, following the trend, they had many influences of prog rock, and psych rock. They haven’t released music since last year, but I’m willing to give them another shot when they release a new album.
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
The star of the show. I spent the first 30 minutes on the outskirts of the pit. It was definitely the roughest crowd I was in since I saw Andrew W.K. back in the fall of 2017. I was drenched in my own sweat within ten minutes and within the next twenty, I had acquired bruises all over my legs and a rapid heart rate. My abs were sore for the next three days. Unfortunately, I was unable to snag a photo while I was up close, but as soon as I was able to pull my phone out I snapped some shots.
Gizz’s music is extremely interesting. Constantly changing time signatures, microtonal melodies, and even some EDM style tunes; King Gizz is going to be a powerhouse in the music scene for years to come, and they’re just getting started. They had a wonderful performance and a great stage presence. Ambrose was getting down playing the harmonica, and Stu was absolutely shredding on the guitar. After the show, my boyfriend and I had a chance to talk to Stu. We talked briefly about Ari Aster films and how wonderful they are.
I have only been listening to King Gizz casually for about a year, with the exception of having their most recent album Infest the Rat’s Nest on repeat. I was hesitant and nervous at the thought of entering a crowd where I didn't know all of the songs that a band could be playing in a set. I've grown up listening to pop punk and going to those shows, and no matter how often the bands on stage would preach to love, accept, and respect each other I feel that those attributes are rarely displayed in those concert settings. Whereas last Saturday night there was no primer from the bands as to what I would consider to be no-brainer ways to treat another, and yet even when I was getting thrown around in the crowd, bruises covering my legs the next day, I felt that it was the most respectful crowd I had been in. So with that being said, I’d like to extend kudos to the Gizz fans for being so welcoming and respectful. It was a breath of fresh air I didn’t know I needed.