I saw the Checks perform live in 2005, at the Grey Lynn bowling club on a Sunday afternoon. Most people had gone outside because these whippersnappers with their rock ‘n’ roll were too loud, but I stayed inside and was blown away. Even though it was a virtually empty room, they still rocked out. And there was a sense that, whoa, these guys are going to be huge.
Did they get huge? They enjoyed some successes, but I think they just kept doing what they wanted to do, and eventually that turned into the dreaded artistic differences and the Checks were no more.
But back in 2005, they were bursting onto the scene with their debut video. “What You Heard” is almost mocking vintage style, having the film look yellowed and scratched. This isn’t a band trying to emulate earlier decades; instead they’ve been trapped in amber, regenerated to bring some rock ‘n’ roll to the tail end of the early ’00s rock revival.
The song lyrics are virtually meaningless (“I feel like a motor police parade!”), but then the chorus comes along with “Drunk man’s word is what you heard” and suddenly there’s a teen totally schooling you on life. So the video just goes for style, with the band looking sharp and moving with swagger. It’s a good debut.
Best bit: the mysterious messages on the marquee sign behind the band – “Empty cans of diamond sauce”.
Directors: Summer Agnew, Dylan Pharazyn
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision
Next… special golden boy.