Sci-Fi Rock Night, The Fiddler’s Elbow, Camden, London
Thursday, 6th July 2023
Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate always seem to have something new on the go. They are an incredibly prolific band, releasing an album each year since 2017, and almost every year since their incarnation in 2009. In duo form tonight, writers and musicians Malcolm Galloway and Mark Gatland fitted the evening’s theme perfectly as they are often influenced by sci-fi writers. They make subtly multi-factored music inspired by subjects such as AI, as well as ecological, historical, and other political issues, focussing on how humans appear to find it impossible to learn from previous behaviours, calamity, and catastrophic events. On the face of it, the cliché description ‘dystopian’ might come to mind, and there’s certainly an element of that present, but, in complete contrast, Malcolm is a most likeable and droll frontman, able to engage instantly with the audience, utilising his natural warmth and quick-witted brain to offset the seriousness of the subjects when introducing the songs. For this performance in particular, hope won through the bleakness, via the profound soul-searching relatability also accessible within the backing melodies of the chosen songs, and Malcolm’s expressive performance: his intense guitar playing, with extensive impassioned solos, and his singing, often speech orientated or taking the form almost of recitative – so much so that sometimes I could say he almost veered into a very English sort of rap! Goodness! In prog? Well, HOGIA, as they are lovingly known for short, are an almost confounding mixture of prog, alt-rock, and electronica, with the odd funk rhythm popping up, then straying into metal territory at times, and occasionally verging on minimalist tendencies within the music; with all that going on, why not a bit of rap too?
Malcolm and Mark always seem to get thoroughly emotionally charged during their time on stage, Malcolm‘s expression almost painfully etched with the force of his playing/singing, and his voice changed character accordingly; mostly direct and informative, at times harsh almost rasping, then plaintive. Mark rarely ever stands still, and this evening he made no exception, literally bouncing about, every aspect of his grounding bass lines coursing through him like an electrical current – it’s always a delightful challenge to snap a non-blurry photo of him (still didn’t quite make it with mine!).
They presented two songs from the soon to be launched The Light of Ancient Mistakes album (scheduled for 9th September), the lyrical title track and the climate change inspired Burn the World that started innocuously enough but soon gave way to some intense vocals and impressive complementary heavy guitar soloing from Malcolm. The sole track from Out of Mind, the introspective When I Was A Ship, absolutely gave the audience the spine shivers with the atmosphere it created. Skilfully slotted in were two songs from the highly popular Nostalgia for Infinity, ending the set with a third, the perennial favourite and laterally developing Century Rain.
Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate Setlist
The Light of Ancient Mistakes
When I Was A Ship
Burn the World
Nostalgia for Infinity
"The curtain cane down on HRH Prog with Magnum, Focus, Carl Palmer and unlikely stars Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate stealing the show.
Hats Off To Late Call-Ups
Unlikely wake-up sorted and an extra shot Americano firing the sinuses like jet fuel, it was a real treat to see stage one stand-ins Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate seize their moment in such style. The Londoners’ leader Malcolm Galloway and bassman Mark Gatland stepped in at scarily short notice when Touchstone broke a limb but nerves soon passed. They hit a cracking groove and seemed genuinely amazed so many had stayed to hear them. Definitely a band to follow." - Hard Rock Hell Magazine
"Have you heard of a band called Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate? Thought not. They are the band called in at the last minute to replace Touchstone and they play Arena 1 on Saturday afternoon.
They tell us they’re not even the full band, they’re two fifths of the band, plus a drum machine. And they’re highly honoured to be there, supporting Carl Palmer. Some people leave as they realise it’s not the band they’ve come to see, but most stay, and almost all the people with seats stay.
It’s a guitarist and a bass player who also plays keyboard. He wears a black glove to play bass, which looks cool, and he’s bloody good, reminiscent of Jah Wobble.
Their first song is "My Clockwork Heart". It’s original, refreshing, heartfelt. Other songs include "We’re All Alone Together", "I’m A Head In A Jar", and "We Fight Back". Sometimes they sound something like the Sleaford Mods, but other times much softer, like Lyndon Morgan from Songdog. One of the songs has a recorded track that features the voices of the guitarist’s kids. He doesn’t look old enough to have kids. They love it and we love it. Original songs, well delivered, style, stage charm, a great voice and great bass playing. Bloody marvellous. The highlight of the weekend." Paul Champion, eFestivals
[Review of HRH Prog Festival, November 2017]
"Kicking off their first of 3 prog showcases this year at The Fiddlers Elbow, the bizarrely named Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate seem to have taken over the iconic Camden live music venue... It’s their live performance that’s most notable, though.... Song-wise, they’re actually pretty strong. Opening with ‘Almost Familiar’, a track which really does as it says and gives off a strongly recognisable sound, moving through a few heavier pieces, their set is mixed and exciting.
The highlight falls with ‘Last Man On the Moon’ which quite deservedly landed a place in a recent Prog Magazine compilation. Its immensely catchy chorus combines some excellent vocal harmonies with a tune that’s been buzzing around my head all night.
A few heavier tracks inspire some jolty, jumpy movement from the bassist ... the semi-screamed vocals in these heavier tracks aren’t delivered in the most tuneful way, but they help to form some kind of oxymoronic prog-punk that I’m just going to assume is intentional.... The guitar tone throughout is often reminiscent of David Gilmour ... the discussion and intimacy between the band and the audience is refreshing." - Dan Peake, All About The Rock
"A great album, and lots of great gigs". Peter Coulston, Live in London - That Was The Year That Was (Shoreditch Radio) [Round-up of best London gigs of the year]
Review of Fusion Festival 2018
"Tony: The first of our “the band name is long, but shorter than a Rick Wakeman solo”. Probably the quirkiest band of the weekend, fascinating, once they have started it is nigh impossible to drag yourself away. Performing songs with the joy thematically of Roger Waters, and the vocal intonation of Brett Anderson of Suede, to my lugholes, they give us a very good opening set. Lyrically interesting, and when explained, inspiring enough to seek out some new books to read. Some of this might sit quite nicely with the Steampunk crowd. I like this quite a lot, and they fit nicely with my other likes in Gandalf’s Fist and the equally bizarre at times Tom Slatter. Words that make you think.
Leo: Quirky set from an enthusiastic duo, supported by programmed samples. The vocals had a Roger Waters sound, although delivered with far more humour than Mr Waters!
This was clever art rock delivered with charm… and announcing a song with “Here’s a song for everyone who doesn’t fit in” may just sum up most of us Progressive Rock fans!" - Tony Colvill and Leo Trimming, The Progressive Aspect