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The VICE New Zealand Team Share Memories of Their First Local Gigs

To celebrate NZ Music Month we look back at our first New Zealand music gigs.

Reflecting on the first gig that you went to can come with equal amounts of cringe and warm nostalgia. It often involves an all-ages audience and rarely an act that you stll listen to today. But to celebrate NZ Music Month we’ve asked the VICE New Zealand crew to share their first gig memories. From True Bliss at the Auckland Town Hall to Supergroove at the Paraparaumu Town Hall, we look back at gigs that left an impression, if only because it was our first time.

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Georgia Cherrie - Account Manager
True Bliss at Auckland Town Hall (1999)
I must have been about 8-years-old, dressed in platform shoes and butterfly clips when I saw the winners from New Zealand's first reality TV show. My recollection is pretty vague, I just remember the Auckland Town Hall packed with pre-teens channeling their inner Spice Girls.

Ben Stanley - Sports Editor
Jordan Luck at Ilam Fields, Christchurch (2003)
Growing up in fugitive country on the Napier-Taupo Road, opportunities for seeing bands in my teen years were non-existent. So the first act I saw was Jordan Luck, when I was a university student in Christchurch.
It was one of the infamous Ensoc barbeques on Ilam Fields; that featured the 'chunder mile' and rampant binge drinking. I remember Luck was pretty well hammered before he got on the stage, which he fell off during “Whatever Happened to Tracy.”

Beatrice Hazlehurst – Staff Writer
Opshop, Hastings Street Gig (2006)
Opshop shutting down Hastings to play a street concert was the height of glamour. So much so, that as an 11-year-old I got a sweep fringe haircut especially for it. I remember thinking that Jason was actually quite a fox. He still kind of is, am I right? The crowd lost their shit and waved their street food in the air to “Maybe”, or was it “One day”? Anyway, the song from that ad that always aired at primetime on C4. Opshop may not be my favourite band nor gig, but they will always be my first. ILY Opshop.

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Jamie Brewer - Sales & Marketing Director
Muckhole at Powerstation, Auckland (1994)
I saw Muckhole play in the Playstation around 94' and had my mind blown. I had purple hair and wore a wallet chain.

Josh Gardiner - Head of Communications
Supergroove and Shihad at James Cabaret, Wellington (1994)
I'm pretty sure I already had every cassingle and album they had put out so I was more than ready to finally see Smokefreerockquest alumni Supergroove live in the flesh. They were playing at the regal James Cabaret but what made this show even better was the fact that it was a double bill with Shihad. My most vivid memory is the encore when both bands came out together to run through a medley of their best — with "Sex Police" particularly sticking in my mind. The next time I saw Supergroove was at the Paraparaumu Town Hall where they played with Mary Staple. The resident tough guy headbutted someone in the moshpit.

Frances Morton - VICE NZ Editor
Jordan Luck at Papamoa Tavern (1996)
The closest you came to live New Zealand music in my hometown was Latin party bands playing their salsa version of Dragon’s “April Sun in Cuba”, all snake hips and sleazy glances. It was in the glory days when driver’s licences didn’t have photos, so getting into the club was as easy as a using a scalpel to switcheroo the birthdate, blanking the bouncer and striding to the bar for a rum and coke. It was the only drink I knew how to order. Pretty sure that same ID got me into the Pap Tav at New Year’s. I thought I knew snake hips but that Kantuta crew had nothing on the showmanship of the Kiwi Mick Jagger, Jordan Luck. The Exponents front man swaggered about open-shirted and sweat-drenched, punching out rock pop hits to a braying crowd. It was all the sweeter when you had a friend called Victoria and could point to her and belt along with Luck, “She’s in bed but she’s not sleeping / Is he a customer that’s really worth keeping?”.

Max Oldfield - Operations Manager
Sommerset, Grey Lynn Library Hall, Auckland (2004)
I'd been a huge fan of New Zealand music since buying a copy of Che Fu's Navigator from Rhythm Records in 2002, but I'd never seen it live until some friends convinced me to catch Somerset at the Grey Lynn Community Library Hall. After chugging a four-pack of Woodstock in the bushes during the support act we ventured in to an experience that would come to feel like home in the years to follow. I had heard of mosh pits, but never having been in one so I was obviously a little shocked by the first elbow I caught to the face. I got the hang of it, though, and by the time the C4 hit "Say What You Want" was belting through the PA, I was punching, kicking, and headbanging with the best of them.

David Benge - Marketing and Business Development
Supergroove at Paraparaumu Town Hall, (1994)
Supergroove may still be the only band to have played a show in Paraparaumu, the small coastal town I called home for the first 17-years of my life. It was an all-ages affair and it was electrifying. It was pitch dark and I remember Karl Stevens yelling. “I’ve locked the doors. You’re MINE now”. I was genuinely concerned. It was like television and radio had leapt to life. The band kicked off with “You Freak Me”. Karl screamed the first two words of the song “If I!” and the room was flooded with white light blinders and band members leaping down from the PA stack . It’s the same show Josh remembers the resident tough guy head-butting someone in the audience. In my mind I got head-butted that night, but between the sweat of my first mosh pit and the multiple years that have passed, I’m not certain whether I made that up or it actually happened. Regardless, someone got headbutted.