Betchadupa “Man on my Left”

2001-betchadupa-man-on-my-leftThere’s a really simple concept behind this video. Betchadupa play their song at a cool gig while a bespectacled cynical dickhead in the audience slags them off to another guy. We follow the conversation with subtitles.

Many of Betchadupa’s previous songs have been short punk numbers, ripping through them with a burst of energy that might not even see the timecode click over to two minutes. “Man on my Left” is an epic 3:23, which prompts the dick to quip, “Wow, over two minutes. This must be one of their long songs.” Lol! But that length means they can’t just edit together a bunch of cool shots. That have to make a proper music video.

“Man on my Left” takes its inspiration from Radiohead’s “Just” video, which using subtitles to introduce another level of story into the video. The risk with this concept is that the viewer becomes so engrossed in reading the subtitles, they forget about the song. But “Man on my Left” gets around this by making the conversation about the band, with the band turning out to be the worst band ever, as far as the cynic is concerned. “How many cliche rock poses can that bass player pull,” he sneers. Eight, it turns out, as the video demonstrates.

There’s a lot of energy in the video. The audience are fully moshing, not the standard unnatural music video direction of “wave your hands in the air”. Like the band, the audience is young with energy to burn.

And then this all leads to the fun payoff at the end. “Even their music videos are lame,” moans the dickhead. “They always have punchline at the end.” The fellow he’s been talking to turns, removes his earplugs and says “I’m sorry, did you say something?” Ba-dum-chh!

Best bit: the steely close up as the dickbag sneers “predictable”.

Note: An episode of The Big Art Trip profiled video director Gerald Philips, including a rehearsal of the “Man on my Left” video. The item can be viewed in part three.

Director: Gerald Phillips
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… peace in wartime.

4 thoughts on “Betchadupa “Man on my Left””

  1. Finn: “I was 16, 17… you probably won’t recognise me as I wasn’t hidden by all this hair yet”. Funnies run in them Finn genes 🙂

  2. Indeed – this was shot the night after the final Neil Finn and Friends show in 2001. The boys had invited friends but also some of the fans who were hanging about to meet Neil and Eddie Vedder and the chaps from Radiohead behind the St James. They played this song several times to get all the video footage but also treated the video extras to a little concert in Chris’s flat (which apparently he shared with the dude from Rubicon if I remember rightly). I yelled out for Drop D and so it was played. It was a fun night.

  3. If Gerald Philips made this, then I reckon the guy in the glasses must be (an impression of) Adrian, who worked with Gerald on the Tree People clip. I think Gerald also did Spill the Light, although the animated character looks like one of the guys from Phelps & Munro:

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