Anyone that knows me, knows I will try to help them out as much as I can, even if its outside of my comfort zone. So when Ryan, the PR guy behind the above band emailed me 3 times, and shamed me into something, I couldn’t turn him down!!
Theres the rub PR, badger me enough and I’ll review it! If you don’t know them, The Aristocrats are probably one, if not the crème de la crème of rock/jazz fusion trios ‘in the World’ (if Clarkson was describing them). It’s Marco Minnemann on drums (Steven Wilson, The Mute Gods, Satriani, The Sea Within), Guthrie Govan on guitar (Steven Wilson, Asia, Hans Zimmer), and Bryan Beller on bass (Steve Vai, Mike Keneally, James LaBrie). To name their involvement is merely scratching the surface of their combined work. I like a bit of prog, where I have encountered all the aforementioned guys in their respective discography previously, but I usually have to draw the line at instrumentals, only because you can only keep writing the same comparisons, or in this trio’s output….superlatives.
I have never heard anything previous by The Aristocrats so I’m coming in fairly blind as far as this live album ‘Freeze! Live In Europe 2020’ goes. If I’m honest, I doubt if I would want to subject myself to an hours worth of widdly noodling, but I appreciate quality when I hear or see it.
Given the superb quality on offer here, its ‘Spanish Eddie’ that hites the right notes for me, especially when Govan drops into Blackmore territory with the Blues section 2/3 of the way in before making way for the Spanish flamenco ending. Considering its all recorded live is an absolute wank fest for blokes in their 50s who fawn over playing like this. I feel sorry for the staff having to clean the mess up afterwards. ‘When We All Come Together’ Could just be reference to my above comment. Its a ‘wild west, rockabilly, yee-haw, Devil came down to Georgia’ piece that you can hear the audience lap up. There’s a picture I can’t un-see of middle aged blokes line dancing to jazz fusion par excellence. ‘Get It Like That’ is dedicated to Neil Peart, and I cant think of a better drummer on the planet to namecheck Peart, or for that matter come close to the legend that is Peart. As you’d expect, the drumming is to the fore and a perfect tribute the 19 minutes just fly by which is always a great sign.
As a stand alone piece, you have to marvel at the musicianship and quality (with a capital K) on offer. Minnemann, Govan and Beller are an absolute tour-de-force, but its just not for me. That said, if you do like these guys already and are a fan of other pieces of their ‘band’ work, then you will enjoy the gig, as there isn’t a bum note in an hours-worth of high-octane noodling. And for that I give it a credible…
8/10 (if youre a fan of the band, I guess it’s a 10/10 as the playing is fucking faultless!)
D Grade Fuck Move Jam
When We All Come Together
The Ballad Of Bonnie and Clyde
Get It Like That
The Aristocrats –