Vancouver’s own Mode Moderne is one of those bands that have clear musical influences and are able to meld it all together with such ease. After seeing the band open for the Raveonettes back in November, I couldn’t wait to catch them live again. Glory Days at the Biltmore featured the Goth/New Wave group and it’s confirmed, they really are the love child of The Smiths and Joy Division.
Instantly, the thumping bass had the crowd bopping their heads and lead singer, Philip Intile, pulls you in with his powerful haunting voice. Intile’s vocals are often compared to Ian Curtis and on songs such as “Disco Ruff,” the comparison is obvious. However, when the band slowed it down with the alluring track “Rattle,” the vocals possessed a warmer and almost romantic quality, proving that Intile is doing much more than simply imitating.
Guitarist Felix Fung was intriguing with his skills on the 9-string Vox Teardrop, something you don’t see everyday and Intile, who was constantly closing his eyes and doing the occasional delicate hand gesture, seemed like he was off in another world. You feel like you’re invading his personal space, watching him pour out his deepest emotions into the microphone.
One of Mode Moderne’s newest tracks, “Undiscovered Country,” (it’s Donkey Kong meets The Cure, can’t get much better than that) was noticeably absent from the set. It’s a shame because it’s the type of song that would have gotten the entire place up and dancing. They closed with a respectable cover of Echo and the Bunnymen’s “A Promise,” which fitted so well into their set that they could have passed it off as one of their own. At the final chorus, Intile’s vocals reached an ultimate crescendo and it was as if every single person in the building was being enveloped by a hypnotic wave of eighties nostalgia.