I had a look at 48 May Street on Google Street View, the Hamilton student flat where the band formed in 2002. There’s a bunch of old furniture dumped on the front lawn and a ute parked on the berm. Bloody students.
A NZ Musician magazine profile notes the support the band had from NZ On Air, with bass player Shannon saying “We’d still be at the fish and chip shop playing Street Fighter 1 if it wasn’t for NZ On Air.” That’s probably more to do with the two $50,000 recoupable album grants the band had, but their seven music video grants are just as important.
“Fight Back” was a bright, shiny debut single, with production by Welsh producer Greg Haver via the Resonate music conference. But the video isn’t quite as slick as the song.
The band are playing in what looks like a school gymnasium, sometimes wearing bits of American football protective gear. It turns out they need the protection because each band member beats himself up. It’s like a freakish neurological condition – the man who gave himself the bash. They’re joined by cheerleaders (to jump around in support) and medics (to look on in bewilderment).
The video concept doesn’t quite work. Why are the band beating themselves up? What have they done wrong? Unless you’re a 48 May hater, what pleasure is there to see the lead singer of a band with a (fake) injured face? And by the time the drummer repeatedly slams his head against the drumkit, it’s all just getting weird.
Best bit: bass player Shannon’s bondage trousers.
Note: the video was on YouTube, but it’s since been taken down and there’s no alternative.
Next… row row row your boat.