Feature: 10 mod club pitfalls

by Modculture 12 September, 2011

1960s mod club

1960s mod club

Thinking of putting on a club or event? Here are 10 things to avoid.

1. Too much music

One of the great things about the mod scene is the melting pot of sounds that keep the dancefloor moving, with soul and R&B able to rub shoulders with beat, hammond and Latin…in the right hands. But there can be too much.

If you’ve got a night promising ‘soul, funk, jazz, ska, Latin, garage, psych, revival and indie sounds’, chances are you’ll do no justice to any of them and your night will stop and start like a 30-year-old Lada. As ever, less is more – and at least your punters will know roughly what they’re getting and in what amounts.

2. Oh no…there’s a live band coming on…

First contentious one I suspect. Nothing wrong with live music, but whether it fits in with a club…well, it’s not always an easy one to pull off. Some people do it well, sticking on a band, promoting it well as a live music event and throwing in a ‘proper’ club night after as a tasty bonus.

Just don’t get the club night going, then stick on a band (especially one that doesn’t fit with the music the DJs are spinning), then try and bring the club back later. It might not come back. Rather like your paying punters.

3. Yes, that really is our flyer…

Remember when all mod flyers featured a scooter, a picture of Twiggy and a target? Well, some still do. Even in an age of Photoshop and a world packed with under-worked illustrators and graphic designers. Don’t let yours be one of them.

If your club is in the for long haul, get a designer – chances are one of your mates can turn his hand to it. If not, spent a couple of quid on someone to do a decent logo and flyers you can use again and again with a simple change of date. If it looks professional, so does your night.

4. Where’s the dancefloor?

Running a club? You probably want people to dance. So you probably need a dancefloor.

That means finding a venue where there’s space to dance. Chances are no one wants to sit in a bar and hear you play records. If they’re great tunes, they’ll want to dance. Think about that before you book in for a long stint at a place in town. If it’s got a good wooden one, throw yourself at it before someone else does. As long as you can trust the club owner. Maybe that last thing should have been another point.

5. Sorry, there’s a dress code tonight…

Once upon a time, youth cults used to have running battles through the streets and a dress code kept the ‘wrong’ people out. That was then…this is now. The world has changed.

Everyone likes a sharp-dressed crowd, so you could always encourage people to look the part. But demanding a dress code just keeps people away – those who can’t afford the right gear, those who don’t know what that gear is and those who just might be curious about what a club aimed at mods offers. Anyway, who made you head of the fashion police anyway?

6. We close at 11…

Licensing laws have changed, but have the hours of club nights?

A lot of people go out later, so running a club from 8pm to 11pm isn’t exactly going to get folk heading down to your night in droves. Especially if they have to travel. Open later, make it worth the effort, even if you can’t stretch to an allnighter.

7. I can’t find the venue

Great dancefloors and ‘plenty of parking space’ are often listed on flyers, but if your venue is out of the way, you’re always onto a loser.

Clubs in ‘less than friendly’ areas, clubs outside of city centres, clubs far from transport links – they wil always cause problems. You don’t need to be on the ‘main drag’ in a town or city, but being within reasonable distance of it helps.

8. Where do we find out more?

We’ve never been more connected, but all too often, clubs still only have a phone number as a point of contact. And let’s be honest, no one is going to ring it. Get connected to the modern world.

Get a website, get a blog, get a Facebook page, get a Twitter account – or get listed on this site. We’ll even do a feature on you to tell the world what you and your club night are about. If you’ve got something good, tell the world about it and make yourself available to chat about it online.

9. Oh look…sales boxes in the corner…

Another one that separates opinion. Some people love that northern soul-like habit of taking record boxes and taking up club space for an impromptu vinyl shopping area in a club.

Some (like myself) dislike it. It’s a club, not a car boot sale and when space is tight (in a small room), sellers take up too much room with their boxes and portable record players. I guess it depends on how packed out the club is. If it gets busy, do you really want prime space handed over to retail ventures? There’s a time and place for shopping.

10. Oh what an atmosphere…

It’s amazing how clubs can, at times, be so unfriendly to first-time visitors. Make sure yours isn’t one of them.

Thankfully, a lot of mod clubs are good at making people welcome. In fact, I’d say that’s what mod clubs are particularly good at. Make sure you have a friendly face on the door, have a word with people you’ve not seen before and think about the odd giveaway at your club. It means people might well keep coming back. That’s what you want.

And a final bonus point…

11. I’ve just brought my iPod…

If you happen to be advertising a night of authentic mod sounds, do the people who have turned up a favour and don’t come armed with a pile of compilation CDs, a laptop or an iPod.

Be authentic, look like you’ve put time and effort into sourcing original tunes and play them from the original source material. If you can’t even be bothered buying authentic vinyl, it probably says everything about your club night from the off.