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KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD - 3h marathon show at Stadtpark Hamburg (May 22nd 2024)

band: very good to great

weather: unlucky

volume: living room to reading a book

audience: mid to low quality

Not enough? Ok, it's probably a good thing that I needed to write a couple of other live reports before this one (and one day of A Colossal Weekend is still waiting for its review). Otherwise this might have only been a rant about King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard's audience. As if that was needed... If you have been in one fan group on social media, where they are proudly flaunting their bland Taylor Swift-infested fucking Spotify stats, you already know that this band deserves a better fanbase.

The prolific Australians' primary strength is not that they are the best at what they are doing, because if you pick any of the multiple genres they are playing - except for a couple of very special interest records -, you'll always find superior artists. But of course they are great musicians. Their musical nerd-dom and constantly high level of quality in which they apply their own spin on everything they're doing - that's what truly sets them apart. There's really a lot to be appreciated - yet most of it certainly goes over a big chunk of their fans' heads, that rather seems to reduce them to a party-orientated cult of personality, which crosses the line from being funny or ironic to getting on your nerves way too often - while also acting as if King Gizzard have invented music and probably also the wheel.

But maybe I'm just talking bullshit, because I'm spoiled by the respectful crowds of most of my usual shows and festivals, who just know better how to party without being a dick. Seriously: This was an outdoor show in the middle of Hamburg in the middle of the week. If the volume doesn't increase after two "Louder! Louder!" chants - it won't happen. They have restrictions.
But these morons... every time the band went quiter by choice! they came back with their chants, instead of just shutting the fuck up and listening. At one point the band just gave the relaxed jam up and played something else.
I was also under the impression that at least in the front area there were a lot of international travelling fans, who maybe just didn't care too much about potentially ruining the experience for others, because they would see them on other dates of the tour later anyway.

Well of course, you cannot put all the blame for this all in all disappointingly mediocre night on the audience. In fact many for sure also made the best out of the circumstances. But the bad things will of course overshadow that. And the worst thing was of course the low volume. My personal lesson is that I'll never go to Rock / Metal shows here again. It's just too damn silent for that. If I think back on recent Psychedelic shows like Slift or Full Earth the sheer sonic power still blows me away - a great bunch of this show however I just experienced as a backdrop for all kinds of conversations so important they just couldn't wait until later. People can hang out together completely silent with everyone looking onto their own screens - but when you're at a live show you just have to babble constantly?

Normally I'm not the guy in favour of that one fan in the front who holds up his phone to film the whole fucking show. In this case however there is a fan-filmed video on YouTube, which is really worth watching. In fact this video is actually better than having been there in person. At least if you like to hear the actual music of the show you're attending. The value for money ratio of the video definitely is a winner.

It's a shame. In a closed venue this could have been so great. And I'm not even complaining about the rain, which was just extremely unlucky. I had the best tourist weather in Copenhagen a couple of days before and even in Hamburg this just happened to be the one day when it was pouring. But ultimately who cares? It was just weather and at least no thunderstorm or blizzard. The rain wasn't even that cold.

But again - the volume. The band did - almost - nothing wrong. The only thing I missed in the set was some of their microtonal and/or "Polygondwanaland" stuff. But then on the other hand, what we got in this three-hour-marathon was actually great:

You could roughly divide the performance into three parts. The first act, which was opened by "Float Along - Fill Your Lungs" was Psych / Garage Rock stuff and classics with many highlights, be it the "Nonagon Infinity" songs, the groovy "Iron Lung" jam the flute-tastic "Hot Water" or the several "Motor Spirit" teases placed everywhere.

In the middle of the show the synths and stuff table was brought onto the stage and the band premiered a twenty-five minute version of "The Silver Cord". I guess they cannot really replicate the studio version on stage, so this was actually the jammiest part of the whole show with a very lose and ambient sound without even a full beat for most of the time. This Electronic section also was the only one where the volume actually felt close to acceptable. I would have gladly taken a full hour of this weird, but really awesome shit.

The final part of the show was a huge section dominated by the Thrash Metal escapades of "Infest The Rats' Nest" and "Petrodragonic Apocalypse". Super(cell) stuff, but you already know what spoiled it... after the Electronic goodness the Rock instrumentation felt even more tame now. It doesn't really feel like a Doomsday invocation if you can hear a pin being dropped into the mud / grass.
(Ok, that's an exaggeration. I actually couldn't even keep a couple of guys right next to me from trampling the glasses of a girl who had lost them. No chance to break into the moshpit action. At least the crowd was entertaining itself. But I alone witnessed two pairs of glasses being sacrificed to the pit. Who knows how many must have been lost in total?)

Everything had build towards "Motor Spirit" ending the show and so it did. And I was mostly relieved that this distanced simulation of a fantastic PsychElectroRock'nRollMetal show was over.

Compared to how ecstatic their Hamburg show in 2018 had felt, this was just a giant pile of wasted potential. Wrong location. Period.
Musically, under different circumstances this could have been my third or fourth favorite (non-Festival) show of the year so far.

Well, at least one dude filmed a watchable video of it.

The aftermath:

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