Wolverhampton Show Recap: May 29, 2024
poster art by Amy Jean: giant horned monster peering over a wall with tongue hanging out; dead trees in foreground; lightning bolt in stormy sky

In a rush and can’t read the whole thing? Make sure to check out “Float Along - Fill Your Lungs”, “The Dripping Tap”, “The Wheel”, “Iron Lung”, “The River” and “Sense.”


King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard made their debut appearance in Wolverhampton, UK on May 29, 2024. The boys dug deep into their discography to deliver an outstanding performance, sending a shockwave throughout the Midlands in the process. The majority of the set was loose and jammy, juxtaposed by a four-track metal closer.

Show Rundown

After multiple nights of battling illness, Grace Cummings was able to return to the spotlight and prepare the crowd for King Gizzard. Grace and her band played plenty of material from her latest album Ramona. Her hauntingly beautiful vocals, alongside her band’s classic rock demeanour, shook the walls of the Civic Hall. Grace’s set was a blissful way to kick off the evening; it was great to see her back in good health.

King Gizzard took to the stage around 20:50. As the crowd erupted with excitement, Stu and Joey reached for their C# guitars. Typically, this is indicative of a visceral metal opener. However, the band headed in the polar opposite direction: they launched into the psychedelic anthem “Float Along - Fill Your Lungs.” As the track evolved and the boys continued to jam, they entered into some darker, heavier passages. Ultimately, this climaxed with the ‘eye dilates/air gyrates’ section of “Dragon” before returning to the song’s mellow origins. As a personal favourite song that I’d been hoping to catch for a while, I was in absolute awe. From this very moment, it was clear that King Gizzard’s premier at Wolverhampton was going to be monumental.

After this bold opener, the band launched into another extensive jam with “Boogieman Sam.” The band was firing on all cylinders yet again, with Joey offering some exceptional bluesy licks. A significant portion of the unreleased track “Sad Pilot” also made an appearance as the jam meandered. Lyrical teases from Carson’s “Boogie” and The Rolling Stones’ “Midnight Rambler” were also included by Ambrose. By this point, it felt almost as though the band had dedicated the show entirely to their staple live jams.

This theory was strengthened further when Gizzard embarked on another journey into the sonic ether with “The Dripping Tap.” Fortunately, there were no tech issues as there had been in Liverpool on Sunday. Alongside the usual blisteringly fast melodies included within “The Dripping Tap,” the boys shifted the dynamics radically into a section with an Eastern twang. Cavs’ drumming during this segment was dreamy, almost as though it was lifted directly from a Grateful Dead “Drums -> Space” performance. Compared to the Liverpool rendition, “The Dripping Tap” was more concise in Wolverhampton, clocking in at roughly 17 minutes. This version is certainly a must for any devout fans of “The Dripping Tap,” especially if you are searching for a variant with some unorthodox, dissonant jamming.

Following this (approximately) 50-minute jam trilogy, the band launched into “The Wheel,” the first time the song had been played in 44 shows. Suffice to say, this also included a significant amount of improvisation. Both Stu and Joey clung to their wah pedals towards the end of the jam, resulting in a particularly trippy conclusion. “The Wheel” was certainly a welcomed surprise for the setlist and allowed the audience to take a breath following the intense opening gambit.

However, that moment of tranquillity did not last for long, as Gizz launched straight into another raw, psychedelic progression with “Iron Lung.” Stu’s vocal delivery during the opening section was outstanding: the vibrato he added to his tone elevated the emotion of this track significantly. This moment in particular demonstrated to me how far Stu’s presence as the (unofficial) frontman of the band has evolved over the years. He radiated confidence throughout the show, but this simple touch evinced his comfort in a simplistic yet beautiful way. Once the track reached its apex, however, Ambrose stole the show with his chilling cries of ‘frog breath/steam tent.’ As this was my first time catching “Iron Lung” live, witnessing Amby take on this central role was breathtaking. The intensity of his delivery and engagement with the crowd made this a true highlight of the night.

Perhaps at this point it is unsurprising to say that another elaborate jam followed. For the first time during the 2024 UK run, Gizz unleashed “The River.” As the song ebbed and flowed, it became clear that a temper was brewing within the music. The darker moments within this jam were coupled with teases of “Wah Wah,” which the band ultimately segued into. After a tight, concise rendition of “Wah Wah,” “The River” was reprised and brought to a gradual halt, with Stu, Cookie and Joey each utilising their wah pedals unsparingly.

If “The Wheel” and “The River” had not caught your attention, then “Sense” certainly will. After a 40-show hiatus, the beloved track made its grand return. This was another unexpected selection, especially with the Brighton acoustic show on the horizon. As was the case with “The Wheel,” this was a welcomed inclusion, given that it has only been performed 16 times in total throughout the band’s extensive live history.

Sticking with their C# guitars, the band launched into the only Joey-led song of the evening: “This Thing.” Despite battling food poisoning during the day, Joey was able to contribute his usual vocal quirks, coupling humour with his relentless riffage. He and Stu also traded some tasteful guitar licks back and forth during the tailend of the track.

The final portion of the show was an immense four-track metal run, starting with “Mars For The Rich.” This seamlessly evolved into “Self-Immolate,” which featured a drum solo from Cavs. As has been a recurring event during the Europe/UK 2024 tour, the backdrop changed to the ‘Cavs Cam’ as he unleashed havoc on his kit. This version of “Self-Immolate” felt incredibly up-tempo, indicating that the band’s momentum had not dwindled whatsoever.

“Converge” was the penultimate track of the evening. Yet again, Cavs demonstrated his prowess behind the kit, particularly during the introduction and the ‘hungry crawling, fat, grey rat snake’ section. The intensity of the set was distilled succinctly in this powerhouse of a track. To conclude, King Gizzard launched into “Gila Monster.” For the final time of the evening, Ambrose demonstrated his versatility during his verse. Throughout the Europe/UK 2024 tour, “Gila Monster” has proven itself to be a strong closer — this version was certainly no different.

Closing Remarks

Unfortunately, “Witchcraft” was cut from the printed setlist due to time constraints and the venue’s hard curfew.

Whilst the lack of microtonal tracks may have left some disappointed, the breadth of their discography that King Gizzard covered was undeniably brilliant. Given how infrequently “The Wheel” and “Sense” are played, I implore all Gizzheads to check out these recordings at the very least from the Wolverhampton show.

Finally, I would also like to give special mention to Al for very generously giving me the setlist he acquired from the sound desk. Your kindness is symbolic of the wonderful fan culture that surrounds this amazing band. I owe you a beer!

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