Joseph Moore discovers The Bros NZ, an acoustic supergroup lurking in Grey Lynn that features Step Dave from Step Dave banging on a box. And so much more.
The journey from mildly well-known Shortland Street star to legit-as-musician is a path that has been often travelled, yet seldom nailed. There have been valiant attempts. Paul Reid aka Ferndale’s most troubled early 2000s teen Marshall, hit a respectable #22 on the NZ Top 40 with his band Rubicon’s novelty punk joke/song ‘Bruce’. Johnny Barker aka serial murderer Joey Henderson had a go at serial murdering the charts with his folky solo project Sleepy Kid. And who could forget the time that Shane Cortese got together a bunch of blokes in their 40s (including one bloke playing some sort of clarinet-synthesiser) to do an INXS cover on TVNZ’s Good Morning:
2015, however, has seen a new effort. While a humble YouTube viewcount suggests otherwise, I have a feeling that this is going to be the Shortland St act that finally cracks the bustling hospital-cafeteria that is the New Zealand pop landscape.
I am talking, of course, about The Bros NZ. An acoustic YouTube covers-supergroup formed in a Grey Lynn flat by Richard Osborne, AKA Ferndale’s tortured-closeted-physiotherapist Alex Dean. Where previous would-be Shorty St musos failed in the past is that they didn’t think like Richard. They didn’t stock the rest of the band full of other notable local TV personalities, and film a video of them just jamming it out in a bath. In this case, the other members are the Modern Maori Quartet’s James Tito on lead vocals and acoustic guitar, and Step Dave’s Step Dave on banging a box. Here is their first song.
Look, I know this is just a video of some Bros NZ sitting in a bath performing a cover of a Maroon 5 cover of an alt-rock one-hit-wonder from 1997, but in it lies the potential to devastate the local charts.
In real life, the three Bros NZ graduated the country’s premier drama school Toi Whakaari in 2010, and now live together, party together, and according to neighbourly eyewitnesses, go on intense three-man runs around Grey Lynn together. On weekends, two of the Bros NZ host a Ponsonby club night with “giveaways” and “freestyle raps”. Their latest project, which seems to encompass two YouTube covers, and at least 10 episodes of some sort of interactive show live streamed to Periscope that I have sadly missed all of, is sure to be their defining legacy.
The Bros NZ is the perfect New Zealand band name. Has any name managed to encapsulate one nation in so few words? I can’t even make one up. The Bloody Legends? The Beers? The Chilled Out Rugby Balls? Nope, can’t do it. The fact that no other act has already trademarked this name, or even tried just throwing a cheeky “NZ” onto the end of one, is completely beyond me. I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw a few jump on the bandwagon come Homegrown 2016. Six60 NZ. There’s double your album sales right there.
Beyond their titular surface, they are ticking every other zeitgeist box. YouTube covers. Bieber Haircuts. They even have the rascally camaraderie of any respectable boyband. Have you seen One Direction documentary? Those guys are never not “fooling around” or “just being lads” (on that note, who’s idea was it to name them One Direction and not The Lads UK), and The Bros NZ are no different. Just look at how few fucks are given in that first video – a hat inside? Leaving in the “action!” at the beginning? Step Dave’s complete lack of eye contact with either the camera or his fellow Bros NZ?
Basically there is no reason for these guys not to blow up like the Warner’s bach circa December 2013. The question is, where to from here? According to their Facebook page, they have already recorded an interview and eaten one and a half pizzas with former Moorhouse crooner Brock Ashby for The 4:30 Show. But I reckon they can step their media dominance up even further. Why not a Disney-channel-esque show like The Jonas Brothers had? One where the Bros NZ have to balance life as superstars with trivial yet relatable flat matters like “who left their fedora in the bath?!”
Or perhaps they could take to the charts in the old fashioned way, by placing on, but not winning a reality music competition. Surely someone’s doing The Voice NZ in the next year or so. Imagine the look on the judges’ faces when they spin the chair around to see that it’s only bloody Step Dave from Step Dave!
However they do it, I have no doubt that this video is the start of something big. Provided they don’t let the inevitable gaggle of fangirls tear them apart. It’s doubtful they’ll succumb to that, though. Bros NZ before Hoes NZ.