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
“I don’t know any other place in the world where you can book a show 24 hours in advance, and then this!Â Only in India!” exclaimed bassist Bryan Beller to aÂ full house cheering onÂ The Aristocrats. Three days intoÂ theirÂ 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 wasÂ postponed to next weekÂ owing to protests erupting in the cityÂ over the Cauvery water dispute, promoters pulled together a special show in Mumbai’s Hard Rock Cafe within 24 hours.
For theÂ 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 trioÂ seemed a little on edge with set-opener “Stupid Sevens”–a visibly annoyed Govan shielding his eyes from camera flashes–stage technicals had nothing onÂ The Aristocrats, as they powered through tracks like “Bad Asteroid” (off 2011’sÂ The Aristocrats) and the title track off 2013’sÂ Culture Clash.Â
Displeasing stage lighting notwithstanding, the show only got betterÂ thereon–whether it was Minnemann’s superhumanÂ 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.Â It helped thatÂ the band warmed up to the raving audience of around 300 strong byÂ narrating backstories to their curious song titles (Govan’s fascination withÂ “The Kentucky Meat Shower” of 1876, Minnemann’s take on hisÂ guitarist’s mild temper with “Ohhhh Noooo”), practising their HindiÂ (“Aap kaise ho? Ye gaana tumhe ke liye!” announced Minnemann before diving into “Pressure Relief”)Â and roping fans in for the melody of the mysterious Western soundtrack “Smuggler’s Corridor.”Â Their encore however, featured even more guests–their live staple squeaky toys who squawked out much of theÂ “Get It Like That” interludes. “That was fucking awesome!”Â signed offÂ Beller, promising to return with more at the band’sÂ secondÂ Mumbai showÂ on September 16th, which, like the rest of their tour, is already sold out.
“The Kentucky Meat Shower”
“Get It Like That”
Photos: Prashin Jagger.