Dark Tower “Alright Now”

2001-dark-tower-alright-nowThe Dark Tower lads are back and this time they’re having an adventure in a central Wellington neighbourhood. Jody and Eli are cheerfully walking home, not realising that in their flat is the dastardly Mario. He’s eating their cornchips, drinking their beer, farting on their couch and macking on Jody’s girlfriend (as explained by on-screen titles). They walk in mid-mack and Mario makes a run for it, sparking off an epic chase on foot.

It’s not exactly a geographically accurate chase, more a patchwork of chainlink fences, narrow alleyways, paved backyards and bits of flat and hilly Wellington. At one stage the duo are overtaken by a jogger. This doesn’t stop them catching up with the corn chip thief, but he surprises them with a posse of thugs. Fortunately a deus ex machina arrives in the form of Jody’s mum, who flips off the goons and rescues the lads.

But is it too late? Back in the flat, Mario has returned to continue his dance of seduction. Jody’s girlfriend is enjoying herself as Mario shimmies, with his giant belly overhanging his giant Y-fronts. Aw yeah.

At this point I’m wondering what the motivation behind the chase was. Jody’s girlfriend seems much happier with Mario (and what woman wouldn’t want a bearded fellow who’s not afraid to dance in his undies?). Surely corn chip theft is a pardonable crime. But perhaps for Dark Tower, doing a curry fart into someone’s couch is the worst crime of all.

It’s a fun video with great editing, capturing the anarchic spirit of Dark Tower.

Best bit: the birthday boy who gets a face full of cake, thanks to the disruptive chase.

Note: there are two slightly different versions of this video. In one, Dark Tower are credited as Earl Deviance and Eel, in the other they’re Jody and Eli.

Director: David Stubbs

Dark Tower “You Beauty”

2000-dark-tower-you-beautyThis is Dark Tower at their flyest. The video starts with the duo experiencing inner city pressure. While hanging out in front of a large graffiti wall, they find themselves bothered by another couple of rival homies, one played by Jon from “Ice TV”. Homeboy Jon consults his “Hip-Hop Rulebook”, confused at this pair who rap in New Zealand accents and wear a lavalava.

Dark Tower leave the oppressive city and head for a farm, where they will be free to be themselves. Wandering the pastures, they unleash some brilliant rural lyrics, raping about how it’s “a hard task chewing grass down through Lewis Pass/I saw 10 dags dangling off a dead nag’s arse.” You definitely wouldn’t find that in the Hip-Hop Rulebook.

Their mates Rubicon come to the farm to join them, playing on the back of a ute and in a woolshed (where else?). Jody DJ with a potato sitting near his turntables, and we also see a baby sitting in a vegetable garden because that’s what happens on farms.

“You Beauty” is a fun, lively video that shows Dark Tower doing what they did best – throwing the hip hop rulebook out the window and rapping about what they know.

Best bit: Paul from Rubicon’s trademark joy-mouth drumming.

Director: Marc Swadel

Next… I’ve seen the future.

Dark Tower “Baggy Trousers”

1999-dark-tower-baggy-trousers“Baggy Trousers” is an ode to large pantaloons, but rather than just focus on clothing, the video is styled as a parody of “The Blair Witch Project”. The groundbreaking horror film was released in New Zealand in December 1999, so it must have been very fresh in the minds of Dark Tower and director David Stubbs when it came to make their new music video.

The video starts with a title card, telling of “three baggily panted rap musicians” who went missing while on a music video shoot. We’re then treated to the “found” footage of their adventure.

The trio arrive in the “Dark Tower Mystery Machine” (hey, you might as well cram in those pop culture references) and they set off into the woods, kitted out with backpacks and baggy trousers. You know, baggy trousers aren’t really all that practical for a bush walk. The low hemlines are going to drag on the ground and get all dirty.

The group continue to explore, but there’s no sign of any strange goings-on. They’re content to revel in their baggy-trouseredness. A strange bundle of sticks is no cause for alarm. It turns out there’s a mic in the bundle, perfect for busting out some dope rhymes.

Just like in the film, the trio discover an old house in the woods. Could the Blair Witch be found inside? No? What about the Baggy Witch? No? Okay, how about peeing against a wall in a parody of the final scenes of the Blair Witch? Ah, there we go.

Best bit: the closing credits alarmingly thanking Search and Rescue and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

Director: David Stubbs
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… sequins, eye shadow and glamour.

Dark Tower with Dave Dobbyn “The New Outlook”

1999-dark-tower-new-outlookDark Tower team up with Dave Dobbyn, reworking the DD Smash hit “Outlook For Thursday” into a manifesto promising a new outlook for the New Zealand music industry.

The video starts with a young woman giving a weather forecast, recalling that ’90s television trend for hot chicks reading the weather. Meanwhile, the Dark Tower lads are summoned by Dave Dobbyn, who is cooler than the young ‘uns, as this subtitled dialogue demonstrates:
Dave: Now is the hour of the Tower.
Dark Tower: Yo! Yo! Yo! The OG godfather wants us to kick it. Let’s bust a move, yo! Word.

We meet two versions of Dark Tower. In one, they’re three blinged-out hip hop gangstas, surrounded by a harem of hotties, ticking all the boxes of hip hop video cliches and inventing some of their own (cask wine!). In the other, they’re three New Zealanders, casually dressed, hanging out in the bush. Does this represent the conflict Dark Tower feel, torn between being pop stars and musicians?

Both versions hang out with Dave Dobbyn – in the first, he’s dressed like a Bond villain, in the second he’s casually hanging out in the recording studio.

There’s a lot to the song and the video. It’s pretty meta, criticising bands who sample old songs while doing the same thing themselves. (“Look around – all you see is grave robbin’… to the hook of David Dobbyn.”) There’s also room for a relevant Bible verse – Matthew 16:26.

But is the conflict between the two Dark Towers resolved? Two lift doors open and each version of the group emerge, acknowledging each other before moving off in different directions. A graphic asks “What’s the ‘real’? You decide.” Whoa.

Best bit: Dave Dobbyn as the OG godfather.

Director: Marc Swadel

Next… female problems.