Aaaah, the Friendly Friars…Bostons to some, 2Eze to others, but it will always be the Friendly Friars to anyone over 33. Smelly, dark, sweaty, smoky, loud and fun, Friars was the place to be for anyone a bit ‘alternative’ during the 1990s, particularly in the summer. Post Ship/Horatio’s and pre Rave over The Pebbles, it was a staple part of any Saturday night out. Here’s 10 songs you definitely heard Jumping Jonny Ace and Neil spin.
1. Creep, Radiohead
Usually played at the end of the night to clear the dancefloor, there would always be someone crying their heart out, full of teenage angst and singing along, telling the rest of the club what a weirdo they were and wondering what the hell they were doing there.
2. You Oughta Know, Alanis Morrisette
This was usually played at the start of the night and gave the underage female drinkers who’d arrived early to ensure they got in, the opportunity to thrash around on the dancefloor, singing at the rest of the club and hopefully catching the eye of a potential suitor. Who wouldn’t be bowled over by a lady mosher screaming “And I’m here to remind you…of the mess you left when you went away…it’s not fair…to deny me…of the cross I bear that you gave to me…you, you, you oughta know”?
3. Beck, Loser
Cue lots of ironic dancing and singing from cool people, and lots of angst and embarrassment from those who’d bought Travel Fox trainers with their wages from the fairground instead of Adidas Gazelles.
4. Born Slippy (NUXX), Underworld
A little bit ravey and dancey but still got the crowd going, getting us all in the mood for the Pebbles after kicking out time.
5. Live Forever, Oasis
A chance for the blokes to pretend they were Liam Gallagher, at the time the cooler of the two. If played towards the end of the night there was usually a bit of a huggy circle thing.
6. Alive, Pearl Jam
From those first notes, you knew if you stayed on the dancefloor, you had to be committed. You couldn’t mosh half-heartedly to this bad boy…at 5:40, you were in it for the long haul and I watched many men being broken by its extended guitar solos over the years. In the five minutes after it ended, more cans of Red Stripe were sold at the bar than during all of Wales’ rugby games ever, as parched metallers sought to refuel.
7. Come as You Are, Nirvana
Dark, very dark. The death of Kurt Cobain ever so slightly preceded my patronage of Friars and I always felt, as an indie kid, when this came on, it was time to step aside and let the grunge gang do their thing. Friars wasn’t the place for a turf war…
8. Sit Down, James
Yeh, not much to say really other than, everyone sat down, realised the floor was covered in beer, fag ash and an unidentified slime you could never get off the bottom of your daps and quickly got back up again.
9. Mr Jones, Counting Crows
This allowed anyone called ‘Mr Jones’ to surround himself with chicks on the dancefloor as they all sang at him and pretended they were his girlfriend. Rumour has it a ‘Davies’ tried it once and was taken outside to the beer garden and given what for by the bouncers. Chancer.
10. Common People, Pulp
“Dance…and drink…and spew*…and there’s nothing left to do…” I would guess Jarvis’ sentiments pretty much sums up the experience of Friars for a lot of people. This was a Britpop classic and was played religiously every week after its release in 1995. The song was the perfect opportunity for a Friars stalwart, who will remain anonymous, to hone her Jarvis Cocker impression. I understand she’ll still perform today if pushed, as long as there’s a pint of cider and black in it for her. Maybe we should organise a reunion – anyone got JJA’s number?