Venue Review: The Mod Club

Posted on by Ricky in Everything, Venue | 3 Comments

722 College Street
Toronto ON M6G 1C4

Toronto – Like a fine wine or a hot tub, the Mod Club is something I have enjoyed more and more as I get older. Maybe it’s because of the location (within walking distance) or maybe it’s because of it’s awesome sound system, the Mod Club is definitely one of those venues that could sway whether I see a band or not. So let’s take a look at this venue in the heart of Little Italy.


I couldn’t find any history on the Mod Club. As far as I know it’s always been there. I imagine two rich ex-pats sitting around at a pub drinking ale and having this conversation:

“Have you heard? Vespas are making a comeback”
“Really? I heard DVD sales for Quadrophenia are off the charts!”
“Rockstar just came out with a game about London in the 60s”
“Austin Powers made 300 million world wide!”
“Lets start a club and make it mod, and then all those silly wankers who think they are the next Paul Weller can come, and we’ll take their money”
“Yea mate!”

Thus, the Mod Club was born.


With a capacity around 600, I guess you can consider the Mod Club to be a mid size venue. It has raised platform on the right hand side and a balcony area on the left hand side. The layout is pretty nice and there are at least 4 bars that can service your drinking needs. However, the drink prices here are slightly higher then your usual bar and the selection is not as great. We have only recently discovered that pints of draft are cheaper then beer bottles, so that is a great new discovery. Much like Columbus. They seemed to be cheap on air conditioning for a lot of shows in April/May which resulted in a sauna like atmosphere that I only appreciate when I’m in an actual sauna. Hopefully this will be remedied in the future. The bouncers are generally nice and don’t do a pat down. Two things I hate about the Mod Club: 1) they have bathroom attendants 2) for shows that are on weekends, you can always here the bass from the latino dance club that occupies the basement of the building. I guess that is not their fault, but it is annoying irregardless. The sound system is crisp and clear, and generally, everything sounds great at the Mod Club.


Given that there are three different levels to the Mod Club, the sightlines are decent. The stage is at a decent height so that when you are on the main floor, you can generally see. It is a bit tight for any sold out shows though. If you can get a good view from the balcony or on the raised platform, it’s also very good.


I like the Mod Club. It’s a good mid level club that offers good sound, an easy walk and generally decent sightlines. Sure it can feel crowded when it’s a sold out show, but so does every other club. Bonus, you can go to College Falafel afterwards and get a Halifax style Donair. The bros in the bathroom have gotta go though, I am not giving you a dollar for handing me a paper towel.

Memorable Shows

Patrick Wolf, NXNE, 2009
The Presets, April 2009
Ian Brown, Feb, 2005

Venue Revue: The Opera House, Toronto, Ontario

Posted on by Ricky in Venue | 1 Comment

735 Queen Street East
Toronto, ON M4M 1H1
(416) 466-0313

Toronto – Lets face it, most of us indie music fans live in the west end. Sure there are some scattered about around the Danforth, and there are some living in their parents basements in North York, but most of us are clearly on the west side of Yonge. So whenever there’s a show at the Opera House, people are always like ‘arrggh, it’s so far away’. This is quite true, but if the band is good enough, this is usually never an issue. Lets take a look at this venue


The Opera House opened in 1909. That’s way older then you or me, and slightly older then Madonna. Originally a vaudeville-esque theatre, it transformed to a concert venue in the 90s. It’s 12,000 square feet and houses a maximum of 850 people. The Opera House website has a surprisingly amount of information. Good stuff.


I think the Opera House is a moderate sized venue. It is probably a bit bigger then the Mod Club and a tad smaller then the Phoenix. This is definitely one of those places that bands play on their second or third tours where they have achieved semi-popular status. I am not the biggest fan of the layout as the low ceilings on the elevated areas on the main floors have somewhat poor sight lines and the main lower floor area can get really congested. The beer is moderately priced and there is a good selection. The bouncers do a pat down at the door, which is rare for a venue of this size. I guess it speaks volume about the neighborhood it’s in. On the way to Beach House, at least 3 bums came up and asked for money. The sound here is pretty good and there are usually funky lights, which is good in my books.


With a nice raised stage, you would think the Opera House has nice sight lines. However, it all depends where you are. If you are on the lower area, then it’s great. If you are on the first two rows of the balcony upstairs, then its great as well. If you are anywhere else, it can be average to poor. The second elevated area should have decent sight lines, but it does not, for some reason. People tend to really bunch up near the stairs and with the huge sound thing in the middle, everything gets a bit muddled and if you are standing behind the sound booth, then you are pretty damn far away from the stage. It always seems like the Opera House lets in more people then they should. It’s a big space, but the back bar/area is almost never populated, leaving everyone to push up front to get the best view possible. This makes it seem too packed. The ventilation system in this place is not very good either, so it becomes a sweatshop in the summer.


The Opera House is a nice venue, it actually is an Opera House, which is novel. When the show is not sold out, it’s a good experience. When it’s packed, its not such a good experience. One thing I hate is the bathroom attendants that seem to ALWAYS be at the Opera House. I really don’t need any help washing my hands after going to the bathroom, this is a skill I have perfected since I was a toddler. I’ll be honest and say I never pay these guys anyway so I guess it’s not a big issue. I guess the one thing you can conclude about the Opera House is that it’s a venue where your concert experience are always planned, since no one will be like ‘lets drop by the Opera House tonight and see whats there!’. So I guess that makes going to the Opera House an event, and maybe they just like it that way.

Most Memorable Shows

October 15, 2004 – The Libertines
December Something, 2003 – Hot Hot Heat and the French Kicks
April 13, 2005 – Ash

Venue Revue: The Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto, Ontario

Posted on by Ricky in Reviews, Venue | 3 Comments

368 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5V 2A2
(416) 598-4753

Toronto – What can you say about the Horseshoe Tavern? It is probably the one of the top concert spaces for most music fans in Toronto. It has housed many legendary bands and usually has the best showcases during North By Northeast and Canadian Music Week/Fest/Extravaganza/BarMitzah or whatever CMW calls itself these days. The question now is, why is it popular? Well in this weekly or monthly or semi-weekly article series, the Panic Manual will take a closer (but not too close) look at various concert venues around the WORLD. We will most likely also include a nice drawing of the venue that you can print out and make into a pocket guide so that when you go to these said venues, you will know exactly where to stand.


The Horseshoe is a smallish venue. I used to think it was a really small music venue until I started meeting some local musician types and then see them play in a dilapidated basement or a shower stall. Now I’m thinking the Horseshoe is only smallish. I guess it fits around 100-150 people max and since they occasionally host bigger bands, this place definitely is a place for intimate concerts. The sound seems to be decent for most part and the alcohol is reasonably priced for Toronto. The bouncers at this bar are exceptionally nice as well. Overall, this is a fairly good vibe.

Sight lines

Since the stage is basically only one foot above the floor, sight line quality decreases dramatically as you move further away from the stage. There is also a pillar on the left hand side which basically takes out a bunch of angles from which u can get a good view. If you are one of the few in the front though, the sight line is pretty damn good. There are also a lot of chairs and benches lining against the wall that you can prop yourself up against or on if you need a better view.


I love the Horseshoe. Despite the fact that it’s not on the subway line, it is still fairly easy to get to. The people there are nice for most part and if you can get a good spot for the show, you will have an extremely enjoyable experience. The promise of Chinese food afterwards is a big bonus too.

Most Memorable Shows

November 10, 2003, British Sea Power
Feb 23, 2004, Franz Ferdinand
Feb 11, 2008, Vampire Weekend