On a Saturday night in a dark Tampa-area bar, 3 of the finest musicians out there played their heart (and limbs) out to a thrilled audience. After 3 local area opening acts (and I’d feel remiss in not mentioning the outstanding new act The Thomas Griggs Trio, which almost had the crowd as excited as when the headliners played by the end of their set), this trio set the crowd on fire with not only their tremendous musical skills, but also their (often hilarious) banter.The band, consisting of bassist Bryan Beller, guitarist Guthrie Govan, and Marco Minnemann on drums played through a near two hour set of songs that encompassed their entire discography. The shear variety in the music being played was really quite something. From the franticness of songs like “Bad Asteroid” or “Furtive Jack”, to the more emotional and thoughtful “Last Orders”, they weaved through a slew of notes, with Guthrie’s eyes sometimes looking as if they were about to pop out of his head as he navigated his fretboard.
A personal highlight for the night was the Euro-club inspired “Aristo-Club”, which merged the stereotypical beat of a club with the inventive fusion style of the band, including a show highlight drum solo from Marco. Bryan’s bass held the bottom end down showing some impressive chops that added so much to Guthrie’s guitars. The inter-song chat was great, as is typical at an Aristocrats show. From lessons on German colloquialisms, British bar procedure, and on to stories about tour disasters, the band made every minute of the show entertaining.
There’s a lot you can observe by watching an Aristocrats show. Sure, you could notice exactly how much a master each of the 3 members is at their instrument, but you already knew that going into the show. You can also notice how much fun these 3 have playing for the crowd. But I think the thing to really watch, is simply how much fun these 3 have playing together. If these weren’t well known world class musicians, you could easily mistake them for a bunch of friends who simply just love getting on stage and busting out some jams, along with some squeaky toy props. And that’s what makes this such a “can’t miss” show. What do you call them? The Aristocrats!