King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard’s ‘Chunky Shrapnel’ is crazed psych-rock therapy

An ambitious live project and self-indulgent ego fest all at once

Shot from the Chunky Shrapnel european tour by Jamie Wdziekonski, 2020

These performances feel like therapy for the band members themselves, who look like they’re living out their rock and roll fantasies.

Fans of this group are both deprived and depraved, pining over the next chance to see them live. So the sweaty, noisy lunatics have delivered a series of live performances for fans to enjoy while stuck at home during COVID-19 — it’s pure psych-rock catharsis. These performances also feel like therapy for the band members themselves, who look like they’re living out their rock and roll fantasies.

‘Chunky Shrapnel’ album cover by groups artist Jason Galea

Chunky Shrapnel is an attempt to bring Gizzard’s live energy to our miserable, socially hobbled, quarantined existences.

But when King Gizzard plays live, the consistency of their sound becomes clearer. All their music is experimental, fuzzy, loud, and overall fun — especially for the band. Chunky Shrapnel is an attempt to capture all this and bring it to our miserable, socially hobbled, quarantined existences.

Still from the ‘Chunky Shrapnel’ movie trailer, 2020
Backstage shot from ‘Chunky Shrapnel,’ 2020

By shooting on film, King Gizzard is doing more than tipping their hats to the retro concert movie style, they are trying to replicate it.

The fact that Chunky Shrapnel is shot on film and includes these backstage sequences seems like an attempt to force the band into legend status. When thinking about some of the most famous live concert movies, like The Last Waltz or Stop Making Sense or any number of documented Grateful Dead concerts, grainy images of rock and roll icons come to mind. By shooting on film, King Gizzard is doing more than tipping their hats to the retro concert movie style, they are trying to replicate it.

Another (stranger) backstage shot from ‘Chunky Shrapnel,’ 2020

Maybe King Gizzards success is in part due to their deliberate attempts to be an iconic rock band.

Chunky Shrapnel feels like a deliberate attempt to create an iconic moment in King Gizzards career, which brings up the question do they deserve it? These young musicians are clearly developing egos, given all the crowd surfing and on stage stripping they do in the movie.

Still from ‘Chunky Shrapnel,’ 2020

It’s so therapeutic to see King Gizzard just having fun.

The truth is, it’s not just therapeutic to hear the simple yet brutal melodies of King Gizzard performed with such high energy and enthusiasm as on Chunky Shrapnel, it’s also therapeutic to see these guys just having fun.

Still from ‘Chunky Shrapnel’ 2020

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Adam Inniss

Journalism student at the University of King's College, Halifax N.S Canada. Writer, music enthusiast, and cautious defender of the Oxford comma.