Monday, October 03, 2005
It's a Mod Mod Mod Mod Mod World
Back in the mid to late Eighties, Mod Fun were one of NJ's most popular indie bands, regulars in the NYC-based "Cavestomp" garage scene of the era. When they played Maxwell's, their Mod fans would turn out in force and you'd see Vespa scooters outside lined up all along the 11th Street wall of the club.
Mod Fun broke up and singer Mick London became Mick Hale, pursuing a long, successful career in the goth/industrial/techno group Croc Shop. But last year, the three original members of Mod Fun starting jamming in the basement, one thing led to another, and they wound up playing a fun reunion gig at The Saint. On Saturday night, they did it again, this time at Asbury Lanes, and it was even better.
I should preface this by noting that Mick is one of my oldest and closest friends; we even played together in a band back in the Eighties. And it might seem a bit odd to see three guys all pushing 40 now decked out in paisley and playing songs they originally wrote and recorded as teenagers. But you know what, it still works.
For one thing, Mick, Bob, and Chris can all still pass for 30. But age isn't even the issue.
It's all in the songs, you know. It always is. That's why the Pixies could come back, and Mission Of Burma, and even the Sex Pistols. Because all those bands had songs. And so does Mod Fun. The stuff still jumps; Mod is really just power-pop with a British accent and a little soul, and Mod Fun songs like "I Am With You,"
"I Can See Everything Around Me," "I Fell," and "Hope It's Today" still ring out with the urgency and unbridled optimism of youth... only now, delivered with the precision (especially vocally, now that the whole band has really learned how to sing harmonies) and confidence of adults.
Asbury Lanes has become NJ's new home of retro sounds, so it was the perfect venue for the show too. I got to bowl with Mick's mom, brother, and partner Mike (part of my rock 'n' roll extended family) and boy, did that feel good. The Dansettes, who opened, were a lot of fun too - three girls on vocals backed by a band of young guys in black suits, all presented with a lot of kitsch as a Sixties lounge act.
Mod Fun really needs to play Maxwells again. And we'll see if any of those Vespas show up.