Events / Events Outside Tokyo


Clean living under very difficult circumstances

by David Hickey

To the legions of impeccably attired ravers who will attend the Mods Mayday ’06 Weekender taking place this weekend in Tokyo, “mod” is about a whole lot more than renting a DVD of the 1979 mods and rockers classic “Quadrophenia” or throwing a beaten-up Kinks LP from their dad’s record collection on the turntable.

Mod events featuring young live bands playing garage rock and R&B and DJs spinning obscure Tamla Motown records might be a regular fixture on the Tokyo clubbing circuit, but only the Mods Mayday has the clout to pull together so many of the leading lights of the scene under one roof.

As a result, expect not only artists from around Japan decamping to Tokyo for the weekend, but also many “regular” mod punters from Fukuoka to Fukushima to attend.

Not that any mod would accept being described as “regular.”

Nor is this event strictly under one roof. For the first time since its inception in 1981, the Mods Mayday will feature a warm-up event at Shinjuku Loft on May 19 with 10-piece horn-heavy band Soul Fortune Society performing, among others. The following night, the croon-tastic Fave Raves and the British beat-influenced The Tickets will be among the live attractions. Organizer Manabu Kuroda DJs both nights, one of the many who will be mixing up the floorfillers with more obscure cuts. “I’m excited to see what ’60s fashion the mod kids will be wearing, because it adds real color and livens up the event,” says Kuroda.

That the event is spread out over two nights should help diffuse the sorts of tensions that surfaced last year when a band member was punched in the face on stage by a disgruntled man in the audience after a perceived diss by the singer against mod traditionalists. Like any gang, mods are fiercely loyal about protecting their own.

The Mods Mayday Warm-Up takes place at Shinjuku Loft on May 19 (11:30 p.m. start). Tickets are 2,000 yen in advance, 2,500 yen at the door. The Mods Mayday ’06 main event starts at 11 p.m. on May 20 at Duo Music Exchange in Shibuya. Also taking place is a scooter run on May 20 at 5 p.m. starting in front of Shibuya Kokaido. For more information, visit