Lords of Polygondwanaland: Gizzfest reigns supreme in Sydney once again

Tripping all over Oz, Gizzfest returned for its third year running and furthered King Gizzard’s reign as the psych-garage overlords of Polygondwanaland and beyond.

Gizzfest: the annual thrash jamboree we never knew we needed and now can’t live without. And nothing sets the garage sensibilities tingling like six straight hours of the best of it.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard were back this year with Leah Senior, ORB, Parsnip, Kikagaku Moyo, The Dandelion, The Murlocs, Amyl and the Sniffers, and La Luz to turn reality on its head for a little while at Luna Park in Sydney.

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I breezed in just in time for Tokyo travellers Kikagaku Moyo to rip up the main stage in a dreamy cloud of euphoria. The crowd was thoroughly feeling every moment of their soaring sound. In a swirl of long brown locks and hypnotic guitars, I managed to sink nicely into the festival’s proceedings.

Local Summer of Love throwback The Dandelion, fronted by the mesmerising Natalie de Silver, hit the upstairs stage shortly after and weaved the kind of spell that only they can cast. Their 1960s beach twang hit the room in a nice swell before everyone headed back down for crowd favourite Uncle Murl and a sample of their swampy blues led by Ambrose’s signature howl.

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Moving right along, we took our positions for Amyl and the Sniffers, Melbourne’s resident pub punk outfit who recorded their new EP in four hours. This reputation preceding, I knew to expect mayhem and that’s exactly what I received.

A dash of thrash, booze – everywhere, mullets, and some crowd surfing theatrics topped off an insane set.

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Following this hefty debauchery, La Luz mellowed things down a tonne with what was perhaps the most laidback set of the night, rolling out some sweet surf ditties straight from the shores of Seattle just in time for the main act.

By the time King Gizzard took the stage, bods were raring. Without a doubt, the most hectic mosh pits I have been in have always been at Gizz shows. Riotous bruising from being slammed against a mid-height stage for two hours, concussions from failed stage dives; it’s all part of the charm. Nothing beats this live act, and along with their powerhouse work ethic, they are absolutely this generation’s (more sonically eclectic) answer to AC/DC.

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Gizzard have so far released four of the five LP projects they promised for this year alone. Their most recent, Polygondwanaland, was also made available for free download, because apparently they don’t gift us enough.

They manage to release an incredibly diverse and detailed anthology of music time after time, while they simultaneously nail what’s becoming a staple of Australia’s festival scene.

Gizzverse reign supreme.

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Words and photos by Dani Hansen.