Friars is Fab at Forty
Aylesbury's famous Friars club closed in 1984, but it returned to its former home at the Civic Centre on Monday June 1st, 2009, for a 40th anniversary gig featuring three bands who had appeared many times at the pioneering music club. The Groundhogs and the Edgar Broughton Band supported headliners The Pretty Things, who arrived to top the bill, hot from their appearance at the Childline O2 charity concert. The band's set included many of the lesser-known singles that reached the Fab Forty and tracks from their acclaimed 'S F Sorrow' concept album. (They enjoyed six FF entries and spent quite a few weeks in the chart.)

The Friars atmosphere was as friendly as ever, with many of the audience meeting each other again for the first time in years and most of the guys bemoaning lack of hair. Rock Family Trees author Pete Frame had travelled from his home in Scotland. Local heroes John Otway and Marillion's Pete Trewavas greeted old friends in the bar and Arthur Brown, minus his infamous flaming headgear, jammed with the Pretty Things.

Mike O'Connor of the Official Friars Aylesbury website was on stage to present Friars' Heroes awards during the evening. Friars' Founder (and incidentally, a Knees Club member) David Stopps received an award engraved, '87,000 people thank you for the music and memories'.

Many thanks to everyone who put an enormous amount of hard work into this event and made it a huge success.

Visit Mike's Official Friars Aylesbury website for a full photo gallery.

An Evening Standard interview with Phil May, 'Britain's Great Lost Band' by John Aizlewood is here.

Photos of the Pretty Things from 1966/7 are here.

Queues at Aylesbury Civic Centre when tickets went on sale on April 17th
The bar area has changed considerably in forty years

Outside the bar, it's 'friends reunited' on a warm summer's evening
It's a few years since Mary and Sue have met. Everyone had to join the club to gain admittance and Sue was on duty collecting completed membership forms
The anniversary teeshirts list some of Friars' most popular acts
Phil May still leads the Pretty Things...
...alongside fellow Sixties survivor Dick Taylor

All photos copyright Chris Payne and Radio London, 2009

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