Following the release of their ninth album Flying Microtonal Banana, King Gizz announced a couple of shows at Fitzroy bar the Night Cat on the 18th and 19th March. In a matter of moments, tickets for these shows were sold out, so King Gizz just kept adding shows. All up, the psych-rockers sold out EIGHT shows at the Night Cat over successive nights.
On entry, the DJ was warming up the crowd with some funky old-school cuts, such as The Beach Boys’ underrated classic ‘Misirlou’, which was the last song played before King Gizz entered the stage. The perfect conclusion to the set.
Filtering through the crowd from their back-stage bunker, King Gizz were positioned smack-bang in the middle of the Night Cat, setting up a 360° viewing area for fans. For most customary bands, the area would not work as well. But, the area suited King Gizz down to a tee, as the entire band are hypnotic viewing, particularly the two drum-kits that are the centre-point of the band’s live performances.
The band delivered two sets over the duration of the night, kicking off the proceedings with a 40-minute showcase of their recently released record Flying Microtonal Banana, followed by an hour-long performance of their greatest face-melting tunes they have created from their other eight albums. Seven-minute epic ‘Open Water’ was the surprising, yet appropriate opener, setting the scene for the night. Following the song, Stu expressed his gratitude to the crowd: “Thanks everyone for taking the time out of your lives to come see us on a Tuesday.” No, Stu, thank you, you bloody legend.
The opening set saw the hype of the crowd increasingly build throughout, but it wasn’t until the final track of the set ‘Rattlesnake’ that the crowd genuinely reached a King Gizz gig standard of behaviour. As soon as Stu hurriedly mentioned “last song… Rattlesnake,” the audience erupted. What followed was eight minutes of constant “rattlesnake!” chanting.
The second set began in a heavy manner, with unreleased tracks ‘Alter Me’ and ‘Altered Beast’ getting the crowd moving. Although this was a rollicking start, this was just a teaser for what was to come, as ‘Robot Stop’, the opener of critically acclaimed 2016 album Nonagon Infinity followed, truly getting the Night Cat swaying.
From this point on, the Night Cat audience began to resemble a Violent Soho gig, with the security struggling to keep the King Gizz fans from surfing over the rest of the bodies squashed into the space in front of the band. Those without the front view took it upon themselves to find a better observation avenue, scaling chairs, tables and poles for a better look at Stu’s iconic tongue-waving, body-distorting poses.
Although the second set was filled with favourites from King Gizz’s two most popular albums, 2016’s Nonagon Infinity and 2014’s I’m In Your Mind Fuzz, the highlight was ‘The River’, from 2015 album Quarters!. Despite the lengthy 10-minute timeframe, the jazz-rock jam did not become tedious whatsoever.
The final song of the gig was something that only King Gizz could pull off: a medley of a bunch of everyone’s favourite King Gizz tracks. The medley conventionally began as ‘Am I In Heaven?’, before tailing off into the aforementioned ‘Alter Me’, ‘Cellophane’ and ‘Hot Water’ to name a few that were sifted into the one concoction, before finally trailing back into ‘Am I In Heaven?’ to conclude.
After seeing King Gizz at Laneway Melbourne in January, I was not entirely satisfied with the performance. It could have been my shitty position in the middle of a huge crowd, but there was just something missing. However, after the intimate show crowding up against the barrier at the Night Cat, my obsession for the band grew further than I ever imagined it could. I think it’s time for me to stop going to gigs, because nothing will top the King Gizz show at the Night Cat.
A few pics from the gig: