December 2007: Solomon, Spacifix, Streetwise Scarlet, Sweet & Irie, The Big Man, The Rabble, The Rickshaws

Vintage underwear, a puzzling experience, from a mall to the tropics, motherly appreciation, B-grade delights, craziness, and so much heartache.

Solomon “Exit Light”

Solomon won the Rockquest in 2007 and, as always, the video funding was part of their prize. It was their only funded song, which is a pity because it’s really good tune. It has a sophisticated melody that isn’t normally heard in New Zealand music. The video puts the band on stage at a theatre, cut with a subplot involving a young woman having a very puzzling experience in the audience. It turns out she’s dying on an operating table, which is always good for some drama.

Director: Damon Fepulea’i

Spacifix “Running Away”

This video captures Spacifix at their peak. We see the band in four locations. They’re at Westcity mall in Henderson, looking like an improvised flashmob; they’re hamming to the cameras in the recording studio; they’re enjoying the tropical sunshine of Tonga; and they’re playing a huge gig, which I’m going to assume is the support slot they got for a UB40 gig in Tonga. The song itself isn’t as captivating – a super chilled out reggae tune – and it’s an odd match with Spacifix’s camp, energetic performance style.

Streetwise Scarlet “Fall Forever”

So much heartache. “Fall Forever” tells the story of three people who are going through relationship drama. There’s a woman whose boyfriend is leaving on a jetplane, a guy who walks in on his girlfriend pashing another man, and a woman who is gently being dumped by her girlfriend. The video is shot in slow motion and each scene ends with the brokenhearted lover slowly falling backwards. It’s very symbolic.

Sweet & Irie “Mama Don’t Cry”

This was the debut single of Sweet & Irie. The song is pretty much what the title suggests – it urges that if your mum is crying, you should comfort her. The song was released to coincide with Mother’s Day 2008, but it seems a sad song to celebrate motherhood, suggesting that being a mother is so hard, so emotional that tears flow all the time (it’s not, is it?) The video (and song) features the Mission Pacific gospel choir, which all adds up o a Jamaican/Polynesian/New Zealand vibe.

Director: Ivan Slavov
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

The Big Man “Heartbreaker” – missing

The Big Man is Hamish Clark of Breaks Co-op, but this video eschews the coastal groove of his other band’s videos and goes for something a bit surreal. He plays a hospital patient, tended to by a nurse played by a dwarf actor. Hamish is brought to an old beige computer with a giant CRT monitor, where he is tormented by a lollipop-enjoying webcam girl. The song itself isn’t especially crazy, but the video adds so much that it doesn’t serve the song in the best way.

Note: This video was online but has since been removed. Listen to the audio on Spotify.

The Rabble “Start Again”

“Start Again” is set in the foyer of the Civic Theatre, where a group of diners sit down to a masquerade event. It’s not always easy to follow the plot, but I think it goes like this. A woman is there with her fiancé (who is a dick). She spies an ex-lover, flirts a bit with him, then runs off to pash him. Fiancé sees them, she throws her engagement ring at him. Take that! All the while, The Rabble are the entertainment, with a group of vintage-underwear-clad dancers doing some moves to the punk tune.

Director: Anthony Plant
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

The Rickshaws “So Free”

“So Free” draws from B-grade horror films of the 1950s, with vampires, monsters, werewolves, swamp creatures all tormenting the video’s heroine, played by the Rickshaw’s lead singer. This was the band’s only funded video, and while the song isn’t an especially memorable piece mid-’00s indie pop, the video is full of fun, with impressive low-budget special effects that would put their mid-century counterparts to shame. NZ On Screen has some photos from the video shoot.

Director: John Strang

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