.The Aristocrats in Mill Valley

Powerhouse instrumental rock and fusion trio The Aristocrats include Sweetwater Music Hall on their brief tour 

Since their inception nearly 13 years ago, The Aristocrats have defied categorization with each successive release. For those not in the know, The Aristocrats are comprised of superstar guitarist Guthrie Govan (Steven Wilson, Hans Zimmer, Asia, GPS), bassist Bryan Beller (Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Dethklok), and drummer Marco Minnemann (Steven Wilson, Joe Satriani, Steve Hackett, Kreator). 

As luck would have it, the band is celebrating a new record with just five live shows, all of which have sold out well in advance. True to the band’s comedic nature, their new and 6th full-length album – the confusingly and purposely inappropriately-named ‘Duck’ – carries on that spirit and then some. Instead of their concept album being some overtly serious affair, the band titled songs about a popular waterfowl while infusing the thoroughly confusing topics (see album closer “This Is Not My Scrotum” for good measure). 

One part rock, one part jazz, one part improvisation, and the rest a head-scratching WTF combination of drum, bass, and guitar calisthenics, The Aristocrats have a loyal legion of followers (though mostly those of the male gender) that patiently awaits the group’s limited time between other musical endeavors with bated breath. It’s been five years since their last record, and as evidenced by songs such as “Sgt. Rockhopper,” their music is far more superior than just some guitar hero gobbledygook. Also, check out the standout tracks “Sitting With A Duck On A Bay” and the awe-inspiring “Slideshow” to see where the future of instrumental rock is headed. 

Perhaps some of the most talented musicians on the planet, these three humble and very funny dudes aren’t limiting their musical song styles either. After being the most talked about showcase at the 2011 installment of the NAMM convention, it only seemed proper the union of these three musicians would carry on with even more new music and live shows. 

And while catching the band is a rarity these days, their rabid fanbase is proof positive the music is doing the talking regardless of this aquatic bird’s propensity to get itself into all kinds of deep shit drinking backstage (see album opener and first single, “Hey, Where’s My Drink Package?”). Being silly never sounded so good.  

The Aristocrats play a special evening show at 8 pm Thursday, Feb. 22, at Sweetwater Music Hall, 19 Corte Madera Avenue in Mill Valley. Visit www.sweetwatermusichall.com for more info and possibly for a small batch of tickets to be released day of show. All ages are welcome. 

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