Stop me if you’ve heard this one… an Englishman, a German, and an American went into the Manchester Academy – and blew the bloody roof off!
For those who don’t know them, The Aristocrats are an alliterative super-trio of musicians comprising of Bryan Beller (bass), Marco Minnemann (drums) and Guthrie Govan (guitar). No vocals, just musical notes. Lots and lots of notes.
As the house lights dimmed, dead on 8.00pm, the band came onstage and blasted into “Blues Fuckers” from their self-titled debut album. This set the tone for the evening as we were treated to over two hours of electrifying precision. No flashy light/laser show for these guys, their musicianship was enough to hold everybody’s attention for the duration.
The band members complement each other perfectly and their combined precision is astonishing as they played their “fast, loud, obnoxious music” (Bryan Beller’s words, not mine) throughout tonight’s set, which included several tracks from their latest release ‘You Know What…?’, each member humourously regaled us with their compositions’ influences – they write their tunes separately – tales about bad reviews “D-Grade Fuck Movie Jam”, instrument thefts “The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde”, the ‘weather trilogy’ comprising “The Kentucky Meat Shower”, “Desert Tornado”, “Flatlands”, and Guthrie Govan’s tale of uncool sadness about the UK’s strange alcohol licencing laws “Last Orders”.
This camaraderie continued as the band asked the audience to help them out with some crazy 16/23 beat hand clapping during “When We All Come Together” – which they managed very well, and I’ll forgive Marco Minnemann for his lengthy drum solo in the middle of “Get It Like That” as it was technically brilliant, and incorporated parts of Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” and “YYZ” (along with squeaky chicken and pig toys in accompaniment!) into it as a nod to drummer Neil Peart.
While I could of listened to these guys play all night it had to end and it did so in style, with one of the funniest audience singalongs I’ve heard any band attempt, as Beller had everyone following the tune in normal, then falsetto, then death metal style voices during the encore “Smuggler’s Corridor”. Of all the great tunes I heard tonight, that was the one I was humming all the way home.
Review: John Stone