Last Night: The Agency at Transit Lounge, September 11

Categories: Concert Review
(Blurry to accurately share my POV)
The Agency
at Transit Lounge, Miami
Saturday, September 11

Better Than: I could have even hoped.

The Review:
If you read my Q&A with drummer Mike Marsh earlier this week, you know I was pretty psyched to see this show. Having attended high school (or various high schools, as the case may be) in the mid-late 90s, things that take me back there hold a special place.

Remember penny beers at Hungry Sailor? Drinking at Sloppy Joe's until one dude inevitably punched another dude in the face? Singing too loud to CDs in your friend's beat up '84 Chevy Nova with the pop-out face on the disc player? Then you understand where I'm coming from, and if you weren't there last night, you're kicking yourself today for having missed The Agency at Transit Lounge, because this show was definitely for you.

To get in the spirit, we took a few laps around the block taking rips from a purple acrylic Graffix. we didn't. Because we don't one have those anymore. And we don't even know if Yucky's still stocks those. We did, however, down a blue MD 20/20 in the car before getting out. Okay, we didn't do that either because...well, they're fuckin' gross, and we work for a living now. We can afford decent hooch. But suffice it to say, we were revved up and ready to go.

Let us start off by saying, we were expecting to find fans. But we were completely unprepared for what awaited us  upon arrival. Arriving at 11:10pm, we were a little surprised when the bouncers sent us around the back. And more than a little surprised when we came in the back door of the patio straight into a wall of backs turned toward the stage. Fans filled the space at Transit, allowing elbow room only to see The Agency already in full swing. We didn't even have time to down our first Oatmeal Stout and original members Mike Marsh (drums and vocals), guitarist/vocalist Klaus Ketelhohn, and bassist/vocalist Chris Drueke were already tearing it up.

Apparently they took the stage promptly at 11pm, as billed. It's indicative of one fact that you can just as easily glean from the sound pouring out the speaker -- The Agency did not come to fuck around.

For the first time in quite some time, The Agency ripped through songs from their catalog with the same unrelenting energy and technical mastery that won them such a strong following and acclaim in the mid to late 90's. And though they never achieved the level of success that Marsh's later band with former Agency member Chris Carrabba did with Dashboard Confessional, they enjoyed their own level of fame. And with their 7" Split The Agency/Milkshed in 1997, their Fork, Knife, Spoon EP in '99 and their two full lengths in 2000 and 2007 (Engines and Turn, respectively), they had more than enough material for one hell of kick ass performance. Case in point, this picture at left. How often have you witnessed crowd surfing at Transit Lounge? And this guy wasn't the only one. It was something that went on pretty much the entire show.

Alt rock jams like "Okay," "Engine," "Adrenaline," and "Lost and Found" certainly lend themselves to this sort of behavior, which I, for one, welcome wholeheartedly. And so did the fans in attendance. Jammed up against the stage, they waved their fists and sang along. People in Seville and Arsenal 88 shirts milled about grinning contentedly. A friend we ran into said it was like her high school reunion. And when Marsh introduced a dear friend and special guest, none other than Chris Carrabba, to join them onstage to play tracks of Engine (which he recorded during his tenure with the band), the crowd erupted once more.

They closed out with him, rocking out "Zero," "Sinking," Single File Line," and "Automatic America." And when the crowd begged for one more song, they obliged to the tune of "Say Something."

And now, my journalistic duty completed, it's off to sweet, sweet alcohol-induced slumber, a grin still on my own face for a show thoroughly enjoyed.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias: I dig The Agency. I dig rock shows. And I love a good crowd surfing. So what's not to like?

The Crowd: Fans, through and through. There were all walks, from the guy with long hair and the goatee who I'm pretty sure I recognize either as the artist who did my first tattoo or some headshop or other in Miami, to girls in dresses I wouldn't have expected. But all were singing along.

Lay It Down
In Time
What About Me
Duck and Cover
Lost and Found
Walking Disaster
Single File
Automatic America

Say Something

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