The Aristocrats – Manchester Academy 2 – 17th June 2023
Good old-fashioned power trio work from three masters of their craft. The Aristocrats wind up a set of UK dates in Manchester. Step forward Guthrie Govan, Marco Minnemann and Bryan Beller. An instrumental power trio of the old school. Judging by some of the T shirts in the crowd, there are plenty who’ve picked up on ex-Steven Wilson duo Govan and Minnemann – incidentally, another from Wilson guitarist, Dave Kilminster (of Roger Waters band fame) was also in the audience in Bristol.
It’s the last of six UK dates before they embark on a hefty 2023 touring schedule that takes in Europe, Asia and probably beyond. Their Defrost tour poster shows the trio as Lego minifigures with the main accessory being a stein of lager for each. Typical of the tongue in cheekiness of three guys who know each other so well in their choice of profession that they can afford to lapse into a little tomfoolery.
It extends to plastic animals on the amps – rubber ducks, a plastic pig and rubber chicken adorn the top of the Beller and Govan amps – and they’re in good company as Devin Townsend certainly likes the comfort of his soft toys and Alex Lifeson of Rush has similar decoration on his amps and pedalboard.
That aside, it’s a no extraneous frills set, the lighting kept to a bare minimum, as they power through a set that fuses more genres of rock than you can shake a stick at. Plenty of humour is on show as they merge a set of songs that includes three new ones; as usual, they have ‘interesting’ origins as the three take turns to make introductions and catch a breath from some furious interaction.
It’s hugely impressive as they hold Manchester with sometimes challenging arrangements which test even their wildly talented capabilities. Not easy when you can’t sing along or nod your head in time to some bedazzling time signatures, all played effortlessly. The Aristocrats take complex music to a different frame. Heck – even the drum solo is riveting! Not often you can say that!
SETLIST: Stupid 7 – Hey…Where’s My Drinks Package – Sergeant Rockhopper – Bad Asteroid – The Ballad Of Bonnie & Clyde – Aristoclub – Through The Flower – Ohhhh Noooo – Furtive Jack – Last Orders – Blues Fucker
Categories: Live Reviews