A packed Komedia has turned out for the farewell gig from Brighton four piece multi-instrumentalists The Hat. They also played last night but this is the final time they will play their collection of songs together. They’ve previously released some CDs but the release of their proper debut album also marks their demise as they all go off to pursue other musical endeavours. Signed to Rob Da Bank’s Sunday Best records (the people behind Bestival), they’ve been peddling their brand of spoken word, ballads and story telling for around six years. If you’ve not heard of them before, they’re a little bit like Flipron from Bristol. If you haven’t heard of Flipron, then a Google search will sort you out. 🙂

The first half of their set sees them playing on a small raised stage set up on the dancefloor. Here they perform some of their quieter songs. The majority of the crowd are seated on the floor and enjoy a typical Hat performance. This involves a lot of banter between audience and band as well as band members interrupting each other to share jokes. It’s a rich sound, aided by Buster Cotton’s double bass and main storyteller Dan Clark playing a Dulcitone (like a piano but with a mellower sound produced by keys hitting tuning forks). On some of these slower songs, drummer Dave Sanderson sings in a falsetto that perfectly suits the mood of the music. The Hat also have a tendency to swap instruments on different songs so between them they’ll play drums, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, piano, various percussion instruments (played by Dave Stenhouse), trombone and trumpet!

After a quick break, the second half of the show sees them move to the main stage where the louder spoken word numbers are played out. These are intricate stories involving quirky and eccentric characters and call for plenty of audience clapping and chorus sing-alongs. It’s all great stuff, once again aided and abetted by drummer Dave’s falsetto.

They encore by playing a couple of songs in the middle of the dancefloor surrounded by the audience. They share drinks with the crowd and say protracted goodbyes to the fans who’ve supported them over the years. It’s a pity they’re calling it a day as they’re a band who should have been more well known that a lot of the irrelevant sheep currently clogging up the charts. It’s not too late to get the CD but it’s a shame one of the best bands from Brighton are no longer around.