Probably the first significant gig I went too was Portishead at Christchurch's renowned town hall (still one of the most incredible auditoriums in the world). This would have been 1998. I was 17 and had just started my first band equipped with a borrowed 4-track recorder, a battle-wary Korg M1 and a set of dubbed DJ Krush cassettes.
I'd been a fan of Portishead for a minute, and managed to hustle enough money (pooling part-time pay and selling bespoke bike parts) to get a concession ticket when the powers-that-be opened up the bleachers/dress circle for general admission. Even though I knew the sound would be compromised (the dress circle is the raised area behind the stage), I had to see them.
Portishead: Beth Gibbons (left), Geoff Barrow (centre) and Adrian Utley
Roads, Glory Box, and Only You had been staples on every mixtape I'd put together over the previous few years. Alongside DJ Krush, Nightmares on Wax, DJ food, Tribe, Digable Planets etc, Portishead were a key influence on my early direction musically. I'm still a Portishead fan.
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I was between worlds with fashion then. I'd overcome a passing phase with inserts and had figured out that having straight Asian hair means you don't need to be as liberal with your use of hair gel as some of your more nappy haired friends. Everything was oversized though, especially my Zeal jeans. This was about the time I started to step things up a little. My crew and I regularly traded clothing, so things came and went. However a new girlfriend, who was looking to study fashion, had recently influenced me. I had saved and spent a lifetimes worth of money on a Nom*d hoodie - so that was coming - coupled with my oversized Levi's (lengthened by hand), and trusty Converse sneakers.
I went with my good friend Kahu. He was living in Burnside then, so there were a few buses involved for us to pair-up. I remember we got in early enough to cement ourselves hard against the rail overlooking the stage. The highlight of the night turned out to be the fact that we happened to be positioned directly above Geoff Barrow's keyboard set-up. I saw everything in hyper-colour. Every detail. Even though I have trouble remembering all of that detail today, it had a profound effect on me.
Needless to say the performance was spell-binding overall. Amazing. I do remember them kicking into Roads and the whole crowd reaching a new level. If I had the chance to see them again I wouldn't hesitate.
• Taay Ninh is one third of Electric Wire Hustle, who are performing at the Heineken Baseline After Party on Saturday January 17, at the ASB Tennis Centre in Auckland, alongside Peking Duck, Chelsea Jade, Dan Aux, and Jupiter Project.
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