TOP TEN: Indie Club Anthems

The pandemic has one more victim as another Manchester music institution shuttered for good. I’m not talking about a venue like The Deaf Institute or Gorilla. I’m talking about 5th Ave.

Admittedly it’s been a while since I’ve woken up with that specific mix of a banging headache while all I can smell is knock-off Red Bull. But I remember the regular trips fondly. Pre-Drinks. Trying to get there early to get cheap entry. Bumping into everyone we know in the line outside.

For the uninformed it was the go-to indie club in Manchester. It definitely wasn’t the best. But it was cheap and it was always busy and it was consistent (i.e. it always played the same music). And though this might seem like a hyper localized list, I’m sure you can apply all these descriptions or anecdotes to your own local indie club. And most importantly the music will be similar.

Anyway, I’m not here to ramble on about my anecdotes of drunken buffonery. I’m here to honor 5th ave with a playlist of ‘classics’. They have most definitely all been overplayed and can be extremely annoying. But after a couple of vodka redbulls it’s almost impossible to resist bouncing along with them.

Arctic Monkeys – I Bet You Look Good On the Dancefloor

Kicking off with a banger. The Arctics were inescapable. And their debut album could just have easily have been about nights out in Manchester l, instead of Sheffield for which the songs were written.

Strokes – Last Nite

Well this kicked it all off really. If the 00s indie resurgence had a starting point it was here.

Pulp – Disco 2000

Despite the avalanche of indie music in the 00s the main focus of the playlist at 5th Ave always seemed to be 90s and Brit Pop. And Pulp was always my favourite.

Linkin Park & Jay-Z – Points of Authority / 99 Problems / Encore

For a few moments every night 5th Ave would break from the poppy indie and go a little harder with some good ole Nu-Metal. And if you can get Jay-Z at the same time. Everyone’s a winner.

Beastie Boys – Sabotage

I feel like there were several songs in which everyone would try to drunkenly rap along to poor effect. ‘Clint Eastwood’ by Gorillaz. ‘Jump’ by House of Pain. And also whichever Beastie Boys song would show up.

RATM – Killing In The Name

I feel like this is the song I associate most with 5th Ave. Everyone loved it. The whole place would quickly switch from awkward dancing to moshing. It was sweaty and gross and definitely a highlight.

Prodigy – Out Of Space

Though I liked The Prodigy I had never listened to anything before The Fat of The Land. That was until I heard Out of Space at 5th Ave. Was I expecting a reggae breakdown in the middle of this big beat dance music? No. I looked forward to that song in every subsequent trip to 5th Ave though.

Killers – Mr. Brightside

It had to be on here, right. It’s almost impossible to go on a night out without hearing this song, let alone at an indie club. No matter how many times I hear it, I still enjoy it.

The Courteeners – Not Nineteen Forever

The last half hour was full of Manchester classics. Despite being new, The Courteeners had quickly cemented a spot in this section. I always love this song for its ability to haunt one of our roommates. She was having a tough time coming to terms with turning 20. And this song seemed to follow her everywhere she went, including when we went out to celebrate.

Oasis – Wonderwall

Whether you like Oasis or not, the night ends with us all arm-in-arm serenading each other. It was compulsory.

Words by Matt Paul

One comment

  1. Fun and informed list!

    I respond to it by noting, first and foremost, that I am OLD. My clubbing days were in the early/mid-80s, primarily at a venue called Poseurs in Washington, DC’s Georgetown neighborhood. It was right next to the long urban staircase that was featured in a key scene of the film version of “The Exorcist,” and we used to go sit on those stairs and drink and sort ourselves out for E’s and Whizz in between dance bouts.

    I really like your concept here, and am off to make a mix that would be analogous for my own experience in my own place in my own time . . . right off the cuff, without any research, the Top Ten Club Anthems (Of My Youthful Experience) will probably include . . .

    1. “Everyday is Halloween” by Ministry
    2. “Go” by Tones on Tail
    3. “World Destruction” by Time Zone
    4. “Close to Me” by The Cure
    5. “Blue Monday” by New Order (I know, I know . . . . I’m sorry . . . . )
    6. “Open Your Heart” by Madonna
    7. “Situation” by Yaz
    8. “Genius of Love” by Tom Tom Club
    9. “Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood
    10. “Atomic Dog” by George Clinton


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