Oh, Katchafire. Previously the only Hamilton bands that had made a national impact were bogan rockers like Knightshade and Blackjack. But along came Katchafire, a roots reggae band who not only had three top-10 singles but had 18 NZ On Air-funded music video. And this is a band who has survived despite line-up changes due to what its Wikipedia entry describes as “commitments with other bands, family and religion”.
The “Giddy Up” video begins with a manifesto of sorts. They are here to bring messages of “peace and love and purity”. And that’s musical purity. “We got no DJs, no samplers. We just got some pure musicians on stage, people.” Are they talking about technology – if so, why do they not have an issue with using electric amplification? Or is it some sort of moral purity of the musicians themselves? If so, dicks.
Combined with visuals of bikers arriving at a concert, it all comes across as macho posturing. So then it’s a big surprise when the song itself starts and it’s a sweet, romantic reggae number.
There’s a bit of Katachafire performing at this concert of purity, but most of it is the band playing in a smaller room, surrounded by friends. And that comes across as a lot more enjoyable and friendly.
The song is also notable for its saxophone solo. These were a staple of pop in the ’90s, but had well died out by the ’90s. It’s like Katchafire had a saxophonist and they wanted to put a sax solo in the video and cool kids be damned. And, well, the song made it to number four in the charts.
That’s where the strength of this video seems to lie. Katchafire have this song that people love and they have their band identity and they’re absolutely sticking to that, keeping it pure. Whatever their definition of purity is.
Best bit: the giant Bob Marley poster looking down over them all.
Director: Greg Riwai
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision