For a few years now, Montreal has it's own Mod Club. Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa have a Mod Club theme night, so it's only natural for Montreal to have its own. Currently located on St-Laurent Street, it had to move a few times before settling in its current location at the Blizzarts.
In my opinion, I think they have found the perfect place. It's small, intimate and has a retro feel to it. Along one wall, you find large banquettes set in semi circles that can accommodate five or six of your closest buddies. You bathe in soft lighting, all thanks to the Sputnik chandeliers and their red light bulbs. On the walls, you can look at mod inspired pop art. They also have classic sixties movies being shown on large screens. The staff is friendly, the beer is cold and there's no cover. That's right, it's free! How can you go wrong with that formula?
The music is good. A decent mix of soul, British beat, Britpop, sixties garage and the occasional French psych pop. For the purists among us, this is not the 100% strict Mod only sounds. The DJs often throw in a few eighties tracks to please the eclectic crowd. To a dedicated Mod, this might offend their sensibilities. I am not. Personally, I don't give a damn. I'm just thankful that Montreal has a weekly Mod night and a place we can call our own.
I sometimes hear people comment that the music isn't truly Mod. Some of them think that if they are going to call a place the Mod Club, they shouldn't be playing Walk Like an Egyptian by The Bangles. And that if they are going to play soul, they should steer away from overplayed songs like Respect from Aretha Franklin and dig a little deeper in the record pile.
Although I find the complaints legitimate, I don't necessarily agree. I certainly don't blame the guys who work very hard to make the night a success. If you want to survive, in this day and age, you have no choice but to cater to a larger crowd, especially if they are in their early twenties. And let's face it, Montreal isn't the Mod capital of the world. I still think it's funny when a young 20 something thinks that Tainted Love from Soft Cell is retro stuff.
The thing is, if they only played rare Northern Soul 45 rpm, there would be only five of us in the place. They have to be flexible in order to be viable. And I get that. I just wish they would play a few ska tracks every once in a while.
My favorite part of the night is usually early in the evening when the club just starts filling up. I get to have a seat with DJ Lee Modern and his lovely girlfriend Shareen and do some people watching out the huge front window. A tasty cocktail in one hand, we catch up and chat for a while before showing off our moves on the dance floor.
I'm also fascinated by the fact that if you walk in wearing a nice suit, people don't get it. Isn't it supposed to be the other way around? I once had a 20 year old guy ask me: "Is tonight supposed to be a special night?" When I asked him what he meant, he added: "Why are you guys wearing suits?"
Aside form the occasional weird comment from the uninformed and the out of place tune, I really dig the joint. I always look foward to meeting friends and rubbing elbows on the dancefloor. So I tip my pork pie hat to Lee Modern, Toby and Shareen and the whole gang for a job well done. Hope to see you all on the dancefloor!