Michael Deeds: MOD, Fly2Void return for special concerts

mdeeds@idahostatesman.comJuly 19, 2013 

MOD 1988.JPG

I want my MTV: From left, MOD’s Thomas Keithly, Pete ­Weaver, Todd Dunnigan and Corey Stoutenberg in the glorious ’80s.

Keeping a band together is a tricky business. As the responsibilities of adulthood unfold, jobs, families and personality quirks morph into hurdles that seem skyscraper-tall.

So when local groups that came oh-so-close to hitting the "big time" reassemble for reunion or comeback concerts, it's fun to root for them - and, if you are a fan, relive the past a little.

Two bands with distinctly different histories and goals will headline area stages July 19: Methods of Dance, a popular group in the mid-to-late 1980s, will perform a reunion show at Visual Arts Collective (details, page 24); and Fly2Void, a rock/metal act that flirted with a major-label record deal before vanishing in 2003, will celebrate a new album at the Knitting Factory (photo and details, page 16).

Because MOD existed before my time in Idaho, keyboardist Todd Dunnigan recently sent me an MP3 of a song, "The Understanding": "It sums up the sound of the band pretty well," he says. "Funky bass lines, soaring vocals, loud keyboards, solid drumming, melodic guitar."

I have a better idea how to sum up MOD - just look at that band photo, baby!

MOD feels and sounds like MTV circa 1985 - which is probably why they were one of Boise's biggest draws back then. Much noisier alt-rock outfits Caustic Resin and Treepeople (Doug Martsch's band prior to Built To Spill) capitalized on the group's popularity by playing some of their first shows opening for MOD.

At least one song from all three of MOD's albums went into heavy rotation on Boise radio, Dunnigan says, "back when it was possible to get local music on commercial radio."

Things were looking good right until MOD was accepted to gig at South By Southwest in 1991 - a relatively big deal then for an unsigned act.

Singer-guitarist Thomas Keithly had just gotten married and refused to go. So the rest of MOD hastily found a new singer, traveled to Austin, Texas, performed at SXSW - and broke up about 15 minutes later: "Yep," Dunnigan says, laughing. "Basically, that's it!"

MOD played an impromptu reunion gig 16 years ago at Bogie's and didn't tell anyone about it. "When the curtain came up, there were about five people there," Dunnigan says.

"Here we are 16 years later, and the urge to reunite finally overwhelmed us," he adds. "This time we're actually hoping to play to a crowd."

There's no doubt that Fly2Void will perform for a sizable audience. After a seven-year hiatus, the group returned in 2010 and played a packed, enthusiastic comeback show at The Bouquet.

At the larger Knit, the band will celebrate its first album in 11 years, "Take on the World."

"This album is dedicated to our kids," reads the CD's inlay, "all the kids we know, and all the kids around the world that we don't know. May you follow your dreams and your heart and never give up on either of them ... go out there and TAKE ON THE WORLD!!!!"

Don't worry, headbangers: Family-friendly or not, Fly2Void still rocks.

The group built a diehard local following back in 2001 with two heavy-hitting songs, "Journey" and "Better Side," which were spun regularly on 100.3 FM The X.

Major record labels took interest. Fly2Void was swept into the moment and came close to a record deal. But the sort of touring commitment it would have taken didn't mesh with reality outside music. Guitarist Fahd Ismail, for example, had a young son and a finance degree he was pursuing at Boise State.

More than a decade later, Ismail says this is the biggest concert of Fly2Void's career.

No record-label scouts. No buzz-band hype.

"Just strictly the passion of music," Ismail says. "We've put so much into this album. It's the album we've always wanted to do."

Michael Deeds' column appears Fridays in Scene and Sundays in Life.

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