Page 49

venues that regularly offered live rock music. Its

by friends of Woods as a safety precaution. On

proprietor, Bob Woods, was friendly with many

those frequent nights when a band would pack in

of Oxford’s up and coming bands (including the

over 200 people upstairs (well beyond official ca-

members of On A Friday), and during his tenure,

pacity), the movement of the crowd’s feet made

he transformed the place from a dingy, infre-

the floor shake. Downstairs, the undulations of

quently visited dive into a still dingy but well-

the ceiling were clearly visible, and patrons of the

loved musicians’ hangout. But in 1995, Woods’

main bar were justifiably nervous that the whole

run of luck came to an end when the Firkin chain

thing might come crashing down at any time.

took over the Jericho and promptly got rid of the

It’s unlikely that the Jericho’s floor was shak-

manager, claiming that they wanted their pub

ing too much on the night that On A Friday made

to have a ‘younger image’. Their plan backfired.

their debut there. Since this was the first show

What once was an admittedly rough and ready

they’d played to an audience not composed com-

but always crowded neighbourhood linchpin is

pletely of Abingdon classmates, the turnout was

now a plastic pub, bright and clean but soullessly

sparse. Fifteen year old Jonny, still not regarded

garish, and one that the youth of Oxford have

as a full time member of the band, sat onstage,

not flocked to in anywhere near the numbers for

harmonica in hand, “waiting for his big moment

which the new owners must have hoped.

to arrive”, as Phil later recalled. Jonny and his

Besides the outside shell of the building itself,

older colleagues may have been excited about

little of Bob Woods’ Jericho can be seen in the

their bow as professionals, but at least one lo-

present day Philanderer and Firkin. The stage is

cal musician who saw On A Friday around this

significantly smaller, and the dressing room that

time wasn’t too impressed. Known only as Mac,

used to be behind the stage has been replaced by

he would in a few years provide an invaluable

an unbecoming set of emergency doors. Yet on

service to the band as the talent booker for the

the ground floor, one architectural element from

Jericho, but in 1987 he saw little talent there.

the Jericho’s glory days remains: a beam stretch-

“They were terrible,” Mac remembers. “They ob-

ing across the length of the ceiling to the left of

viously didn’t know what they were doing. They

the main bar, running directly underneath the

had the three sax players, and they sounded like

floor of the music room. This beam was installed

a bad version of Haircut One Hundred.” 47

Exit Music Radiohead_Story  

The reedition of Mac Randall's take on Radiohead's unnoficial biography, revised with all-new photography on the band's shows. A part of the...

Exit Music Radiohead_Story  

The reedition of Mac Randall's take on Radiohead's unnoficial biography, revised with all-new photography on the band's shows. A part of the...

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