The Guardian has published an appallingly bad review by Ian Gittins of the same Steve Hackett gig that I reviewed for Trebuchet. While it’s often the case that’s it’s best to ignore bad reviews, but this one is so egariously bad it really needs calling out.
Aside from some serious factual innacuracies that betray a lack of basic research, he describes the hugely influential guitarist as “the anonymous Hackett, the quintessential low-profile sideman“, then comes up with bollocks like “but your spirits sink when he is joined by 80s electropop also-ran Nik Kershaw and Marillion guitarist Steve Rothery“, and ends with “but what a dispiritingly redundant evening this is“. It really is one of those awful 1980s NME style reviews that tells you far more about the prejudices of the reviewer than it does about the show itself.
I can’t think of any other genre of music where reviews of this nature have sadly come to be expected. The reason I’m going to the effort of calling it out is because The Guardian has been getting better. Recognising that they lacked knowledge of prog and metal they signed up Dom Lawson, who’s given favourable reviews to the likes of Opeth’s “Heritage” and Steve Wilson’s latest opus. Then they risk all this new-found goodwill by sending the same reviewer who wrote this pile of utter cobblers about Caravan. Somebody who can’t review a prog gig without constantly referencing punk needs to stop trying to review prog.
A better writer like Alexis Petridis would at least have attempted to engage and try to understand what Steve Hackett was trying to achieve, even if the music was outside his personal comfort zone. But Gittins’ review just reinforces the widely-held perception that The Guardian is where superannuated NME hacks go to die. They can and should do better than this.