Crash Convention, Metro Riots, Agent Blue @ Camden Barfly 25/​​4/​​05

Sometimes, you read a review that MAKES you go to a gig. It leaves you with no choice; you feel you would offend the human race by not attending. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Agent Blue. But first…….

Think back to the days as an innocent child, when dwarfs seemed tall (if slightly scary) and there was no chance that Father Christmas was a disguised Michael Jackson. You sit down to watch Wizard Of Oz and it’s fun, it’s colourful, it makes the real world seem dull. And then the monkeys appear. You want to run behind the sofa but something won’t let you because secretly, you’re still enjoying yourself. Crash Convention are Wizard Of Oz. After lulling you into a false sense of security with some great pop melodies and post punk guitar thrashing, the ‘quieter’ front man Dave lets loose his spine chilling scream and you realise there’s more to these guys than first meets the eye. The comparisons to Pete and Carl (who, coincidentally, loves the band) are unavoidable, but Crash Convention won’t care. The have great songs and an inexhaustible amount of energy, chemistry and enthusiasm. Watch out for these guys.

With a front man who evidently hasn’t slept in days, a rock ‘n’ roll guitarist and a limitless amount of poses from all members, the ingredients are there to make Metro Riots the greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll phenomenon since….um……Jet. Don’t get me wrong, they do what they’re trying to do well, it’s just that I don’t care. I don’t care about boring riffs that go nowhere unless they’re executed with passion. I don’t care about attitude unless it’s legitimate. I don’t care about someone shouting at me unless they have something to say or a fun way of saying it. A good show that ultimately lacks all the things (some songs being one of them) that make me want to return.

And finally the reason we’re all here tonight, Agent Blue. I’d love to hate them, I really would. On record they sound like yet another ‘non-​​punk’ band, and have submitted to this unfortunate tag by supporting The Others on their last UK tour. One thing sets them apart from the rest though, and it’s very simple. The Others, Thee Unstrung and The Paddington’s are all shit, Agent Blue are phenomenal, and after reading a review stating this, I felt compelled to go.

They have no catchy melodies and will never have a crossover hit. They don’t care about the audience and never bother to acknowledge them. They don’t force their message at you with a list of clichéd lyrics. However, they will make your stomach churn and ears burn. I defy anyone to try and take their eyes off front man Nic Andrews, who looks far too much like a ‘born on the wrong side of the tracks’ Tim Wheeler to allow you to believe he really is making his way through the crowd to sing on Barfly’s tiny bar.

The songs are short but sweet and bear no resemblance to their studio counterparts, and are all the better for it. If you’d like to see a band who have no intention of acknowledging your existence, but will make the earth move for 30 minutes, then go and see Agent Blue before its too late.

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