Don't Fight it Marsha, It's Bigger Than Both of Us

Blam Blam Blam, Music Video, 1981

Blam Blam Blam’s second hit from 1981 was angular and artsy, hook-filled but unsettling: all qualities captured in a theatrical video, directed by Andrew Shaw. Clowns, magicians, fire-eaters and trick cyclists join the band, while actors play out the saga of ‘Don’t Fight It, Marsha’. The actors — including Phillip Gordon (Came a Hot Friday), Michael Hurst and Donogh Rees (Constance) — were directed by Harry Sinclair, who would later join Blam band member Don McGlashan in The Front Lawn. The Len Lye-style scratch effects were by Jenny Pullar, the Blams’ lighting designer.

Palm Singing

Bressa Creeting Cake, Music Video, 1997

Bressa Creeting Cake's jaunty calypso romp, described by the band as "a very happy holiday song full of gaiety, summer, and love for one's fellows", gets a suitably madcap treatment in this video directed by Michael Keating and band member Edmund McWilliams (aka Ed Cake). Actor and comedian Jonathan Brugh (What We Do in the Shadows) gets to mug for the camera while the band lurks in the background in their "sinister suits". Auckland's Little Shoal Bay, near the Harbour Bridge, is the opening location, and elsewhere, a guitar is used as a percussion instrument.

Light Surrounding You

Evermore, Music Video, 2007

Made with the contents of many secondhand stores, the video for Evermore's 'Light Surrounding You' makes apt use of its title — the band performs in a ring of lights out in the New South Wales desert. The exact location, Lake George, had been dry for several years at the time of the shoot, although it was later submerged. The video stars Australian actor Emily Browning (Sleeping Beauty), who follows a trail of antique lights out to Evermore’s circle in the desert. The second single off 2006 album Real Life, the song achieved platinum sales in Australia, where it reached number one.

Riot Squad

The Newmatics, Music Video, 1981

This song is from New Zealand’s troubled winter of 1981. The Springbok Tour gave the term “riot squad” currency throughout the country — but the Auckland live music scene and the police were already enduring a very fraught relationship. This number from Auckland ska/soul band The Newmatics, released on the band’s Broadcast OR double 7" EP, was actually written about a 1980 police raid on XS Cafe in Airedale Street. The Keystone Cops music video is classic early 80s TVNZ Avalon and features actors Ross Jolly and Michael Wilson as two thirds of the 'blue shadow'.

Spill the Light

Betchadupa, Music Video, 2000

'Spill The Light' kicked off a fruitful collaboration between Betchadupa and Gerald Phillips, with the recent design school graduate taking on the roles of director, animator, actor and cameraperson. The process involved filming himself, then drawing over the footage frame by frame. The result has our head-bopping protagonist sitting down and losing himself in this mellow single from Betchadupa's self-titled EP. The band appear in animated cameos, going about their daily routine, while our listener remains blissfully oblivious.  

Pyromaniac

The Verlaines, Music Video, 1984

This song from Flying Nun stalwarts The Verlaines comes from their 10 O'Clock in the Afternoon EP — the follow-up to their signature single 'Death and the Maiden'. The video was made at TVNZ's Avalon Studios where more than a few clips were marred by inappropriate treatments in the early-80s — but The Verlaines were spared unnecessary trickery, props or actors. With a simple set and an all but imperceptible transition from black and white to colour as the only effect, the focus is on the burning, claustrophobic intensity of song and performance. 

Isabelle

Greg Johnson, Music Video, 1992

Written and recorded in less than a day, Isabelle became Greg Johnson's biggest single to date, despite the fears of guitarist and label boss Trevor Reekie that a lack of drums limited its radio chances. The enigmatic lyrics — memory, cities under siege, a woman from Zagreb — are complimented by moody images of future Shortland Street actor Josephine Davison, and the band in obligatory sunglasses. Director James Holt now directs commercials around the globe.

Greenstone

Emma Paki, Music Video, 1994

Released as the follow-up to Emma Paki’s acclaimed debut (‘System Virtue’) this song was produced by Neil Finn. It made it to five on the local charts. Prolific music video director Kerry Brown (Four Seasons in One Day, AEIOU) helms the redemption story. Paki — in full-colour and fern headdress — sings about the power of pounamu, while actor Cliff Curtis (Once Were Warriors, Fear the Living Dead) plays a roadie adrift in the city in black and white. When things go awry on K Road outside McDonalds, Curtis heads to the bush for spiritual succour from Paki in a waterfall.

If It's Cool

Nesian Mystik, Music Video, 2006

Actor Michelle Ang (The Tribe) stars in this Nesian Mystik music video which features beautiful people partying. Ang's character meets band member Te Awanui Reeder in the street, where he gets her phone number. Later she meets up with him and the rest of the Nesian Mystik crew at a party. The track, which peaked at number five on the Kiwi music charts,  features a sample from The Style Council's 'Shout to the Top'. The Auckland hip hop group produced a record-breaking 11 Top 10 singles, and were key to the commercial breakthrough of Kiwi hip hop in the early 2000s.

Girlfriend

Streets of Laredo, Music Video, 2012

Dave Gibson (ex-Elemeno P) formed this indie-folk family act with his brother and wife. Now based in New York, they share centre stage with their new home in this hyperactive video for their debut single. As daily life in the Big Apple rushes past them, they busk the city’s streets and landmarks apparently unmoved by the commotion (but twitching slightly). There are unscripted cameos from a scene-hogging Batman and a courier van that gets a little too close, but the award for best supporting actor goes to a seemingly endless bottle of orange soda pop.