If you’re trying to calm down your hunger of live shows during this year, so poor with gigs, a solution may be to rely on the supergroup The Aristocrats and their last new album “FREEZE! Live in Europe 2020”, recorded in Spain last year, just before recent pandemic events.
More than just a classic live show, this album could be considered as a sort of unique jam session: inspite of a very short number of tracks (6), the total length of the album it’s more than 60 mins, and this suggests that this power trio really likes playing and exploring lots of music genres, passing through rock and jazz, prog and fusion, folk and blues, jumping across several improvisations, with great pleasure of the audience.
After all, it’s useful to just take a look at the band: Guthrie Govan (Asia, GPS, Steven Wilson) at guitar, Marco Minnemann (Kreator, Paul Gilbert) at drums (including his groupie rubber ducky!) and Bryan Beller (Joe Satriani, Steve Vai) at bass; in other words a superstars trio, characterized by immense skills and endless talent.
And this talent immediately pop up since first notes of D Grade F*ck Move Jam, a powerful mix of rock, blues and fusion which sounds very ‘70s, followed by Spanish Eddie, which, as the title suggests, is deeply inspired by Spanish sound (was it really flamenco?), even if you can find a melted mix of different music genres inside.
These first 2 tracks, taken from 4th studio album “You Know What…?”, warm up all audience’s hearts at once and things don’t get any better with When We All Come Together, so rhythmic and enthralling because of its irresistible country sound: it was like being at a party in the Western age, lost in some dusty saloon. The exhibition is simply perfect: the audience enjoys each solo, every passage, as they were a special and personal event, reserved only for a bunch of few lucky listeners.
The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde get some sacredness back to the main event, and this is weird, if you think that this song has been written and composed by Beller after a “profane” event, as the robbery of his instruments perpetrated by a pair of thieves (Bonnie & Clyde, indeed). The highest peak of the album, in terms of pathos and participation, probably comes with Get It Like That, a distinctly prog-metal track of about 20 mins, where a superb Minnemann’s solo pays homage to Neil Peart, Rush’s drummer, passed away precisely during this tour of the Aristocrats.
Last but not least, the stunning Last Orders, which opens smoothly, with a sort of apparently melancholic mood, takes the audience by the hand, now surrounded by a reverent silence, driving him in a peaceful place, where the atmosphere is so quiet and hushed that the music seems to get into a solid form. It doesn’t take long to understand that it’s only a long intro, until it’s time to turn on a rock side before and to end with a jazz part, both realized in a such precise and intense way, so hard to forget. Truly a really impressive performance!
At the end of the day, “FREEZE! Live in Europe 2020” is the latest evidence of what can be done when 3 musicians like Govan, Minnemann and Beller want to play together, with their amazing talent and their jovial spirit.
For sure, this album is a must for Aristocrats fans and a really good chance for those don’t know them yet.
1. D Grade F*ck Move Jam
2. Spanish Eddie
3. When We All Come Together
4. The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde
5. Get It Like That
6. Last Orders