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Photos: The Aristocrats at Hard Rock Cafe, Andheri, Mumbai

Intriguing backstories, baffling solos and a special setlist dominated the experimental/jazz rock trio’s last-minute show in the city yesterday

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Nabeela Shaikh Sep 15, 2016
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The Aristocrats performed a special set-list of older material at their last-minute show in Mumbai. Photo: Prashin Jagger

The Aristocrats performed a special setlist of older material at their last-minute show in Mumbai. Photo: Prashin Jagger

“I don’t know any other place in the world where you can book a show 24 hours in advance, and then this! Only in India!” exclaimed bassist Bryan Beller to a full house cheering on The Aristocrats. Three days into their debut India tour, the experimental jazz/rock trio have already had a glimpse of the country’s enterprising ways. After the band’s Bengaluru leg was postponed to next week owing to protests erupting in the city over the Cauvery water dispute, promoters pulled together a special show in Mumbai’s Hard Rock Cafe within 24 hours.

For the last-minute gig, The Aristocrats–comprising guitarist Guthrie Govan, bassist Beller and drummer Marco Minnemann–put together a special setlist dominated by material from their first two studio albums. Although the trio seemed a little on edge with set-opener “Stupid Sevens”–a visibly annoyed Govan shielding his eyes from camera flashes–stage technicals had nothing on The Aristocrats, as they powered through tracks like “Bad Asteroid” (off 2011’s The Aristocrats) and the title track off 2013’s Culture Clash. 

Displeasing stage lighting notwithstanding, the show only got better thereon–whether it was Minnemann’s superhuman solos (one long enough for Govan and Beller to step off stage and grab a drink), Govan’s unmatchable chops or Beller’s thundering bass work. It helped that the band warmed up to the raving audience of around 300 strong by narrating backstories to their curious song titles (Govan’s fascination with “The Kentucky Meat Shower” of 1876, Minnemann’s take on his guitarist’s mild temper with “Ohhhh Noooo”), practising their Hindi (“Aap kaise ho? Ye gaana tumhe ke liye!” announced Minnemann before diving into “Pressure Relief”) and roping fans in for the melody of the mysterious Western soundtrack “Smuggler’s Corridor.” Their encore however, featured even more guests–their live staple squeaky toys who squawked out much of the “Get It Like That” interludes. “That was fucking awesome!” signed off Beller, promising to return with more at the band’s second Mumbai show on September 16th, which, like the rest of their tour, is already sold out.

Setlist:

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“Stupid Seven”

“Bad Asteroid”

“Sweaty Knockers”

“Pressure Relief”

“Culture Clash”

“Ohhhh Noooo”

“Flatlands”

“Smuggler’s Corridor”

“The Kentucky Meat Shower”

“Get It Like That”

Photos: Prashin Jagger.

 

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