GENTLEMANS DUB CLUB/ THE AGITATOR
Junction 2, Cambridge 22/5/2011
Perhaps whoever put Brighton-based group, The Agitator, on the bill
tonight thought that a dub/ska/reggae headline act equals a load of
hippies who will lap up the apparent protest stance of what seems an
otherwise odd choice for support duties. A trio consisting of two drummers
and frontman Derek Meins - (formerly of Eastern Lane)- this amount of
percussion and mock-tribal backing vocals is only tantamount to early
Adam Ant, if not a little bit Wham. Needless to say, an audience that
generally consists of sharp trilby hats and stoner dreadlocks are a
bit bemused at first, becoming increasingly so as the singer reveals
a rather calculated camp side, a nod towards Frankie Goes to Hollywood
in the way he looks, a cabaret style in the way that he swoons then
growls his way through a set which is exciting at first then somehow
Groin-thrusting seems to be incorrigible, particularly terrifying when
Meins jumps into the audience and stands there screaming like a dislocated
Muppet (I was too scared to see if he was still thrusting his groin
at this point), and this was all after a rather 50s-style barber
quartet style arrangement lulled us into our happy places before hurtling
us into the primal world of tracks like Get ready. Because
The Agitator want to provoke. Because The Agitator are not here to work
by the rules. They are loud. They are passionate. They are fed up with
everything in society. Im not sure where the groin-thrusting comes
into their mission to change the world but their performance regardless
is intriguing. Just overall, they left me a little petrified. Still,
a band that have got something to say is always refreshing. Whether
The Agitator genuinely believe it or are just art-school ponces who
think theyre on to the next big thing remains to be seen. Cambridge
is only half convinced.
Thankfully I have recovered when Gentlemans Dub Club appear.
And if I hadnt, I soon would have. Where The Agitator were a bit
serious, a bit theatrical and undeniably and proudly pretentious, GDC
hold wide grins and trumpets without a care in the world- the secret
ingredients for a special Sunday evening party proper. Suddenly the
room is alive. The man in front of us has his mind on another planet
whilst on this one looks like hes crapped himself. Maybe he has.
No-one here cares. They are here to dance and have a good time and what
better people to make it happen than an eight-headed monster that is
suited, booted and in command of strong dub beats yet with a classic
live sound and image reminiscent of The Specials or Madness. Nice.
An absolutely infectious atmosphere only achievable by a crowd looking
to lose themselves and a band that are only happy to help them do so,
from the laidback reggae of Procedure Fire to the crowd-pleasing
modern ska of recent single Emergency, it is more than justified
that, since forming in Leeds five years ago, GDC have gone on to blast
festivals and covet the same stage as The Streets and Finlay Quaye.
Feeding off the energy that they have created, horn players Matt and
Kieren jump up, down and then across the stage pretty much constantly,
almost colliding with singer Johnny who, as ringleader of this communal
grin, looks as wide-eyed as anyone that is this high on life. By the
time the evening is over, the band arent the only ones to leave
with a smile on their chops. And as the chorus of High Grade
wafts over Cambridge, we only question When Im grey and
old/will I still be getting involved? Id put money on it.
A class act destined never to disappoint.
Thanks to the lovely Rachel White PR for such a good