Living as a Mod in the 21st Century

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Go-Go Dresses, Paisley Shirts and Vinyls: A weekend spent at MODchicago

It’s already been a month since MODchicago’s Our Way of Thinking 9 weekender. It took this long to write about my experience as a DJ in vibrant Chitown for two reasons. One, I just went through the throws of finishing the school year as a 5th grade elementary school teacher and second, I just couldn’t find the appropriate words to express how much I had enjoyed myself. A week after I had come back, I was still on a high.

Friday night at the Liar's Club
A Mod weekender in North America might not compare with an Isle of Wight rally or a Northern Soul night in Madrid in terms of attendance but I would bet my hard earned meager teacher’s salary that it measures up in terms of heart and soul. For one, the quality of DJs that I had the privilege of sharing the decks with is second to none. 

The most unique DJ I ever met. Dante from Italy cues his records with a monocle sized pocket magnifying glass. He doesn't use headphones! He's incredible!

The DJs were a passionate bunch who knew a thing or two about 60s music. I had been in contact with a few of them through trusty Facebook before, but I couldn’t imagine that by the end of the weekend I would actually come to consider all of them as friends.

That goes for the dedicated crowd in attendance as well, impeccable followers of fashion with active feet and smiling faces. Everybody was just so nice! 

Saturday night at the Late Bar
I take exception with the guy who doesn’t own a bar of soap. His body odor was so strong that he had half of the dance floor to himself. You would've thought that he would've taken a shower the next day. No such luck! I thought of throwing a bit of baby powder his way at one point.

Bad hygiene aside, what was also inspiring is that all the DJs felt free to play the most obscure tracks they had on hand and you knew that the dance floor would be packed. You felt confident that everyone would embark on your musical journey.

There’s one thing I didn’t expect at all. I couldn’t believe how 60s French Canadian artists were so popular. I had to scratch a few tunes off my set list because a couple of DJs had played them before me. What?! Really? You should've seen my face when I heard my mate Brian aka The Midnite Cowbwoy play this amazing track by Freddy et Les Chomeurs. Most of my friends don't know anything about this group so I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that this guy from North Carolina had it on 45!

I got hints of how Quebec 60s and early 70s music was sought after when I brought a bunch of 45s at the Saturday afternoon swap meet. Not a lot of people showed up but all the DJs, fitting the previous night’s hangover, were all eager to trade. I didn’t leave with anything particularly rare but I did get to swap half of my stack for some quality stuff. A term that was abundantly used that weekend was “titty shaker” and that best describes the records that I left with.

I have to thank Sir Eric Collin for the flawless organization of the weekend. His positive vibe made these few days, ones that I will cherish for a long, long time.

The Maestro and I
So in the tradition of my fellow DJs, here is the set list of what I played during the Saturday night event.

Ooh Poo Pah Do - Skip Easterling - Instant
Walk That Walk - David Clayton Thomas - Red Leaf
Hung Up On You - Thee Deuces - Sir John A.
Low Man - Don Norman And The Other Four - Sir John A.
You Come On Too Strong - The Rabble - Trans World
Nothin' - The Ugly Ducklings - Arc
1-2-5 - The Haunted - Quality
Who Dat? - The Jury - Port 
Respect - The Vagrants - Atco
Boum! Boum! - Les Mykels - Select
Batman - Les Hou-Lops - Apex
J'ai Cru A Mon Reve - Les Tallmud - RCA Victor
Ça Ne Tient Pas Debout - Les Dinn's - Riviera
7 Heures Du Matin - Jacqueline Taieb - Impact
Les Jeunes Tigres - Les Safari - CBS
Stop Il Faut Arreter - Pierre Perpall - Citation
Jimmy Mack - Les Coquettes - Sabre
Satisfaction - Pierre Perpall - Teledisc
Soul A Go-Go - The Vibrations - OKeh
Give Me One More Chance - Wilmer And The Dukes - Apex
The New Breed - Jimmy Holiday - Diplomacy
Higher And Higher - Jackie Wilson - Brunswick
Nitty Gritty - Marie Claire - Citation
Loosen Up - The Short Kuts - Pepper
Back In The U.S.S.R. - Chubby Checker - Buddah
Without A Warning - The Amazers - Thomas
Le Sens De l'Amitie - Le Clan 91 - Franco Elite
Les Cactus - Jacques Dutronc - Vogue
Biff, Bang, Pow - The Creation - Hit-ton
I'm Moving On - Matt Lucas - Smash

Here's a little taste of the action around 3:30 am. A great Northern Soul rendition of The Rolling Stone's Satisfaction by Quebec artist Pierre Perpall. Enjoy!


  1. The New Breed, followed by Baby Workout. What comes next?

  2. Being a Northern Soulie (not a mod), I found your blog both an exciting and quality read.
    The small video of the kids being taught about 45 records was also fascinating even though I don't speak French.

    Well done!