You’ve gotta love The Aristocrats.
There are few bands who can play such intensely dynamic and fiery jazz/rock fusion and imbue it with such an off-the-wall sense of humour. For all Guthrie Govan, Marco Minnemann and Bryan Beller’s virtuosic riffs, fills and rhythms, they still make their three-way maelstrom seem accessible and fun. If this is true on record, then it goes double for live, and it’s a dichotomy perfectly captured on their second concert release. During their recent Culture Clash tour they played 105 shows in 28 countries, and the DVD disc of Culture Clash Live! is collated from their turns in Mexico City, Manchester, Zoetemeer, Bangkok and Tokyo. You get a nine-track set featuring Furtive Jack, Ohhhh Noooo, the jaw-dropping Louisville Stomp, Blues Fuckers et al, but this being The Aristocrats it’s no vanilla concert video. Instead you get odd angles, cameras mounted on Govan’s signature Suhr guitar and Minnemann’s stool for a sneaker’s-eye view of their noodlings, and Thomas Crown Affair-style split-screen editing. Beller’s the ever‑avuncular host, with drummer and guitarist adding their tuppence-worth when their anecdotes are required. It also affords a great opportunity for fans of these guys’ instrumental prowess to get an up-close look at their chops. Indeed, one of the bonus features is drum nerd nirvana: a Marco solo with multiple, switchable camera angles. Add to that an earthy behind-the-scenes documentary at the Tokyo gig and demos of Culture Clash tunes (Gaping Head Wound, Living The Dream and the unreleased Car Salesmen In Hell). Opening with signature tune Sweaty Knockers, the included CD features eight songs from the tour with only three performances repeated from the DVD, so you get more ’Crats for your quids. A wonderful thing, Culture Clash Live! is a fitting memento of the tour, and an eye-opening reminder of their ever-swelling international following. It seems that talent may well out after all.