“Mile High” is an aeronautically inspired ode to good times in flight, and Rhombus have fun with the music video. Rather than showing people shagging in aeroplane toilets, the video goes sci-fi in a passenger spaceship, a mix of CGI and real sets.
The video is at its best when it’s being a bit silly – tropical beach girls sashaying in space, a dude on a motorbike floating outside the vessel. But the video also spends a lot of time lingering on shots of passengers looking out of windows. This just feels lazy, like there weren’t enough crazy space antics to fill up the video. There’s even a 30-second scene of a man looking out a window and (eventually) seeing a giant chicken.
The end of the video seems to be where most of the effort has gone, with the spaceship flying through space. The animation is adequate, but it just has no spark. Bring back the cocktails in coconuts!
Best bit: the spaceship’s rear end is a thong-wearing booty.
The “Clav Dub” video plays tribute to the legendary New Zealand film “Goodbye Pork Pie”. With the group filing out of a local WINZ office, they spy a familiar yellow Mini that the original Blondini (Kelly Johnson) has left while he pops in to a dairy. Enticed by a big-arse speaker in the back, the trio take off in it. Blondini seems a but miffed, but, well, he’s experienced worse.
Rhombus are rather excited with their new wheels, and go for a good hoon around downtown Wellington. (And they even go past my old Wellington flat, which is the fifth video to feature a former abode of mine.) As they drive around, they drop off flyers to an event. Blondini finds one of these. He’s on their trail.
It’s a very Wellington video. As well having as cameos from Fat Freddys Drop and Trinity Roots, the video takes in scenes from central Wellington, including Courtenay Place, Cambridge and Kent Terraces and a bit of Wakefield Street. There’s no attempt to dress it up as New York or a random cool city. This is Wellington.
The group end up at the Centennial lookout atop Mt Victoria, ready to have their big party. Everyone shows up, even a few comedy policemen (and this is exactly the sort of adventure that has dancing cops). Blondini also shows up and take back what is rightfully his – the Mini; laughing in to the night.
This was Rhombus’ debut and the song made it to number 16 in the charts, with the video winning Best Music Video at the 2003 bNet awards. The video takes the cheeky humour of the original and plays off it, creating their own original adventure in Wellington. It’s a bold introduction to a group that would become a popular live band around New Zealand.
Best bit: the legendary Embassy cinema advertises a screening of Star Wars.
There’s also only one video missing from April, Che Fu’s uplifting number “Top Floor”. As it happens, I wrote a summary of this video in 2002. It sounds amazing:
Che Fu and his posse are hanging out on the front porch of a large wooden lodge. A young lady hands out pieces of chocolate cake and MC OJ and the Rhythm Slave pass out cups of instant coffee. With a very laid-back vibe, Che Fu spends most of the video sitting in a rocking chair, knitting. But just in case you think he’s turning into an old gran, in the middle of a song he turns into a robot and does a rap. But then it’s back to the porch. At the end of the song he’s finished knitting. He admires the, er, long red thing he’s made, tosses the ball of wool up in the air and it magically transforms into a snow ball and then Che’s snowboarding off into the sunset.
Along came the Fast Crew, which included Kid Deft who later reverted to his maiden name, Dane Rumble. “Mr Radio” was their debut single, a rant about the difficulty of getting play-listed – something that would soon cease to be a problem for the Crew. The single reached #15 on the Independent NZ chart.
Christchurch band Fuce have their final NZOA-funded video “Restless”. The group had plans to relocate to Auckland in 2003, but I don’t know what (if anything) happened next.
In 2002 I wrote this about the “Restless” video: This video uses two visual clichés, one old, one getting old. The first is where the camera jerks about as if it’s trying to find something to focus on. The second is when the camera moves as if the power of the music is making the camera shake. Yeah, it’s a low-budget NzonAir video, but it’s looking ok. It just could have looked better if it had just shown the band playing the song, instead of all the dumb camera tricks.
Lavina Williams featuring Emily Williams “Higher Lovin'”
Ex-Ma-V-Elle singer Lavina Williams teams up with her younger sister (and future Australian Idol star) Emily for the soul jam “Higher Lovin'”. Their sisterly harmonies sound fabulous.
Crystal Fitisemanu “Sunny Summer’s Day”
I’m not sure if the video for Crystal Fitisemanu’s song “Sunny Summer’s Day” was made. There’s no mention of it online, but there is a brief mention of a $3000 grant in 2001 from Creative New Zealand for Crystal to record five songs.
P-Money featuring 4 Corners “The Xpedition”
“The Xpedition” is another track from P-Money’s debut album, this time featuring 4 Corners on vocals.
This month’s consolation video is “Verbally Decapitating” by DJ Logikal. It was the winner of a competition that TVNZ’s after-hours music show M2 held, with the prize being a $10,000 fancy music video made for the winning track. This is a throw-back to how things were in the days before NZOA, where TVNZ (and its predecessors) made music videos for bands. Though in this case, it was a heavily promoted contest with an alcohol sponsor. The video – which is a really is a proper fancy video – sees DJ Logikal infecting downtown Auckland with his scratched-up beats, and it features pre-development Britomart for some gritty urban decay. It visually name-checks P-Money, and incorporates the song’s samples by having people on the street lip-syncing the words. The video rightly won Best Editor for James Anderson at the 2003 Kodak Music Clip Awards.