Michelle Kazor “Crowded Room”

2003-michelle-kazor-crowded-roomExpat American Michelle Kazor had enjoyed a lot of radio success with her debut single “In This Life” and a web search shows remnants of breathless PR about her. But it was not to last. “Crowded Room” was her second and final single and video.

The song has a very radio sound to it, a pleasant rock infused number. The video is centred around a truck. But it’s not just any truck. It’s a magical truck.

At the truck depot, Michelle finds the truck full of mannequins, including a horse – and we get a shot of the mannequin company’s logo. But beyond the mannequins she discovers a mini performance area. Oh, how unusual!

Behind the wheel, Michelle heads off into the countryside, picking up all the freaks and rogues she happens to find by the side of the road, including a drummer, a transvestite, and a comedy Mexican. All these people filed into the TARDIS-like truck and become the audience as she performs on the truck stage – the crowded room.

The video doesn’t quite work for me because it’s mixing a pretty straight MOR music video concept with some wacky zany madcap lolz. I think the video was attempting to do the old freaky friends thing, but suffers from a shortage of decent freaky friends.

Best bit: the horse mannequin making another appearance in a paddock.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Director: Ivan Slavov

Next… there’s gonna be a roadblock.

Heavy Jones Trio “Staring at the Ocean”

2002-heavy-jones-trio-staring-at-the-oceanThe Heavy Jones Trio (a four-piece group) was fronted by Kelly Horgan, formerly the guitar half of high school duo Love Soup, along with some chick called Bic Runga. “Staring at the Ocean” is a pleasant tune, a chilled out ode to the ocean. According to Muzic.net.nz, the group made the video in “a hectic week” very soon after relocating from Christchurch to Auckland.

The video begins with fragments of a crazy, boozy night, cutting to the morning after. There we find a bedroom littered with condoms, bottles, CDs and other detritus of modern life. It’s like Tracy Emin’s “My Bed” on steroids.

Kelly wakes up in bed, fully clothed, next to a sleeping underwear-clad women. Too pissed to shag? He leaves her standing at the front door, is drenched with water as he walks away (including a fish) and embarks on a long walk.

He wanders along city streets, motorways, train tracks, a bustling market, a sheep farm and over sand dunes, all the while acquiring and losing various colourful performers. He’s like a pied piper whose allure only works in the city.

Finally he reaches the ocean, where upon he strips down to his undies and plunges into the water. Finally there this young Christchurch man can cleanse himself of the decadent Auckland lifestyle that was threatening to swallow him whole.

This video is also noteworthy as being the New Zealand music video debut of director Ivan Slavov, who would go on to be a major player in music video production of the ’00s. On his MySpace profile he notes, “My first New Zealand music video. Man I used everyone I knew in Auckland at the time for this one, no wonder it played so much…”

Best bit: the well behaved sheep, doing synchronised prancing.

Director: Ivan Slavov
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… enchantment under the sea.