The Feelers “Space Cadet”

1998-the-feelers-space-cadetThis is possibility the first video that’s not just inspired by the style of Quentin Tarantino’s films but also the non-linear storylines. The “Space Cadet” video is all about a briefcase which surely contains an antique McGuffin.

The story begins with James Feelers playing an assassin type, accompanied by a lady assassin. Both are wearing sleek black outfits and eyeliner, so obviously they don’t stand out or anything. The assassins retrieve the briefcase from the boot of a car and return to a sleazy hotel room.

We also meet James Feelers playing a crazy type person, holed up in a grimy lair, dressed in shiny black, wearing heavy eye makeup and being all crazy. And just for contrast, there’s the full Feelers experience, just three dudes in a band.

Ok, so let’s have some plot. The two other Feelers go to the lair of the crazy Feeler (he must be sleeping) and take the briefcase. The assassins later come around and are angered to find the briefcase has been taken. No worries – they find the two Feelers sitting in a car and shoot them nine times, take the briefcase and – whoa, etc – that’s the car and the briefcase from the beginning of the video.

Back in the hotel, the lady assassin shoots the James Feelers assassin, but yet we don’t ever find out what happened to the crazy James Feelers. I like to think he’s still there in his lair, caked in greasy black eye makeup and real stressed over his long missing briefcase.

Best bit: Assassin James’s “FUUUUUUUUUUU” moment.

Director: Kevin Spring
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… short popstar, tall girlfriend.

Shihad “A Day Away”

1996-shihad-a-day-away“A Day Away” was another single from Shihad’s self-titled 1996 album. It’s such a beloved album, and I can’t help feel that it represents Shihad at their absolute peak.

“A Day Away” begins with Jon sitting on the steps of a rickety old house in the city. Now it seems that Shihad videos are not at all afraid of putting frontman Jon out there. There’s a little run-in outside Deluxe Cafe – which has not changed at all in 15 years – which necessitates leaving town in a cherry red Ford. It’s time to get out of Wellington and hit the road.

We see Shihad at a train station, by a caravan, at a Ratana church, on the road, and bothering a herd of cows. From the south of the North Island, they’ve headed north on an epic road trip, ending up at Cape Reinga. The lads sit at the top of New Zealand and contemplate the majestic scenary and life in general. It’s a lot better than all that Wellington drama.

There’s been so much New Zealand pride in videos from 1996. Again, it’s refreshing to see a video that isn’t afraid to clearly set itself in New Zealand.

Best bit: through this video I learned that there are Ratana churches in Northland.

Director: Kevin Spring
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a big reveal.

Shihad “It’s A Go”

Shihad go underground. In dark black and white footage, we see the band clambering over rocks, as they approach a strange round building in the middle of nowhere. Where are they headed?

We meet Jon in an underground bunker, shot in full colour. This might be in the old tunnels in Devonport, but they also seem like the tunnels on Waiheke Island. Actually, it turns out the tunnels are at Wrights Hill Fortress in Wellington. Despite the spooky setting, Jon looks really happy and gives a great music performance. When he smiles, I smile.

There’s a bit of back and forth between colour Jon in the bunker and black and white Shihad outside, passing through a hole in the fence. Finally the band make it into the underground tunnels, looking very cool as they wall down the long corridors.

They end up in a room with all their band gear in it, and proceed to play the song. Oh, I get it now – Shihad rock so hard and are so loud that they must rehearse in an underground bunker in order to not disturb the neighbours.

Best bit: the cooldude corridor walk.

The video is no longer available online. This should not be happening to such an accomplished group as Shihad.

Director: Kevin Spring
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a sentimental journey.

Shihad “La La Land”

It is the future. A lone cyber warrior roams the barren wastelands. She puts on her virtual reality helmet. Text flashed up on her cyber screen, “Serial port: SHIHAD”. She has accessed La La Land.

Hey, do you know what a serial port is? It’s a kind of plug on a computer. But obviously in this dystopian cyber future, a serial port is a virtual reality state where Shihad rock out.

Once the sci-fi intro is out of the way, most of the video is based around a live Shihad performance, featuring Jon’s new rock bob hair cut. The cyber warrior enjoys her virtual reality experience, losing her metal armour and blending in with the audience.

There’s also some dodgy goings on in the toilets, making the powerful statement that drugs = la la land = not kewl. Hollywood is also shown to be a la la land.

I know that the concept of virtual reality was quite cool in the ’90s, so this video probably seemed quite edgy (although the Dribbling Darts did it four years earlier). But now it’s just seems a bit silly and naive. It turns out that in the future people didn’t seen complex cyber helmets to experience Shihad live; they could do it on the bus using their phones.

Best bit: the brief glimpse of an Air New Zealand plane in Los Angeles. Go New Zealand!

Director: Kevin Spring
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… something strange in the toilets.