It’s a mod, mod world at Ale House

The Who, leaders of the Mod movement.
The Who, leaders of the Mod movement.
Credit: 
Photo courtesy of rollercoasterrecords.com

Interview: Mod Night @ Ale House, Tonight

Sick of dancing to Black Eyed Peas’ My Humps? Join the club. Victoria van Eyk is determined to revamp Kingston’s club scene and show the city there is dancing beyond Kanye West.

Van Eyk, ArtSci ’07, escaped the generic sounds of the Kingston Hub for Toronto on the weekend where she enjoyed a more alternative music scene, rich with the likes of Bloc Party, Arcade Fire, and other alternative acts.

“I went to the Dance Cave in Toronto, and I came back here and thought, ‘this is ridiculous,’” van Eyk said. “[Club managers] are never going to know that this is what we’re listening to if no one tells them.”

Fortunately for those who agree, van Eyk has set up a Mod Night at the Ale House tonight.

“I’m trying to put up a Dance Cave in Kingston, because I know a lot of us like that kind of music,,” van Eyk said. “Personally, I’m sick of hearing ‘Gold Digger’ at every club I go to. Philthy’s, Elixir, it’s all the same stuff every night.”

Van Eyk put together a proposal of her idea and brought it into the Ale House, where she discussed it with the general manager.

“Last year I went to AJ’s once,” van Eyk said. “And now that it’s the Ale House, I know that everyone goes there ... It was the first place I thought of.”

It’s lucky that van Eyk went to AJ’s with her proposal, because the management already had plans to change the Ale House into a more alternative-friendly bar.

“[The Ale House] wants to move the club from that of R&B and hip hop to more of a rock and alternative scene,” van Eyk said. “[They] like that kind of music, and [they] wants to make the shift over. But first [they] want to see if it makes sense to do that.”

And that’s where van Eyk’s Mod Club idea steps in. The management loved the idea, and is giving her a trial night to see how much success it can yield.

“[After I proposed the idea, the management] said, ‘This sounds really good. [We] want to put you in charge of making this Mod Night,” van Eyk said. “‘[We’ll] give you [the] night as a trial, and if people like it we’ll make it a weekly thing.’” Van Eyk has, no doubt, been very busy with preparation, including designing the posters, deciding on the décor, putting together a play list, and spreading the word.

She also teamed up with the Queen’s Swim Team to help raise awareness of the night. Tonight’s event will benefit the Swim Team, and, if it is a success, van Eyk wants to benefit other clubs on campus in the future.

“I’d like to give donations to a different club every night this happens, like QPID,” van Eyk said. “I’d rather have [the money] go to students, than have it go to [a bar].” It seems like a fairly good idea, although it’s not a new one.

In 2003, Steve Birek, former CFRC business manager, began the station’s weekly “Dance to the Underground,” which featured local bands at the Scherzo pub for minimal cover. Michael Sallot, the next business manager, continued the tradition into the next year. Sallot made the event a monthly institution, bringing in such popular acts as Controller.Controller.

Also last year, Darryl Smith Art Sci ’05 organized an event called Japanada at Alfie’s, which was essentially an indie dance party. The DJs took requests and played less-than-popular dance tunes until the wee hours of the morning.

Van Eyk is hoping to start a similar event, except she is taking it off campus in order to separate her event from the atmosphere of exclusivity apparent on the Queen’s campus.

“I really just want to make people happy with the music that’s being played,” van Eyk said. “When I tried to put together this play list [for tonight], I asked twenty to thirty people to send me songs they want to hear.

“The club should be about us, not this music that DJs are playing that we can’t change, you know? There are so many requests that I’ve gone and made, and [the DJs] haven’t played them. I want it to be a democratic club, where people can put down songs they want to hear, or make a request and I’ll play [the song], because it’s supposed to be for us. It’s supposed to be us having fun at these clubs, not the DJs deciding everything.”

Even if it doesn’t work, however, van Eyk is determined to find a venue in Kingston that will support the growing need for an alternative dance party.

“If it doesn’t work, and The Ale House is like, ‘Well, screw that,’ I’ll take it somewhere else for sure,” van Eyk said.

—With files from Brendan Kennedy

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