Gig of the Week: Two grooves for price of one

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The two founding fathers of top New Zealand hip-hop/soul collective Solaa have cooked up a cracking double-header of a gig in Queenstown.

Taay Ninh and Isaac Aesili are best known for forming the acclaimed Christchurch-based outfit – but they’re leaving their Solaa roots behind for their latest trip to the resort.

The Kiwi musos have hit the road with different bands and they’ll share the same bill at Subculture tomorrow night.

Aesili has just released his solo album Eye See and will be backed by his mates The Vision, while multi-
instrumentalist/producer Ninh is with his trio Electric Wire Hustle to plug their self-titled first offering.

“Isaac and I have been working together for so long that it’s weird playing at the same shows with different groups,” Ninh says.

“But although we have separate bands on the go, it makes sense for us to tour together as we both have albums out at the same time and it helps to keep costs down.

“Also, we come from a similar place musically so it gives people who like what we do a bit of an extra incentive to come along and check out both groups.”

But Ninh insists there will be no on-stage rivalry in Queenstown.

“The only real competition between us will be at the poker table during some down time.”

In Electric Wire Hustle, Ninh is joined by Mara TK on vocals, guitar and bass. Mara happens to be the son of NZ blues pioneer Billy TK.

The engine of the band is drummer Myele Manzanza. He also has a well-known dad – Congolese master percussionist Sam Manzanza.

The impressive debut album from Electric Wire Hustle was released just this week and is already making waves.
Top UK station BBC Radio 1 has picked up on a few tracks, which has led to gigs being arranged in Europe for next month.

“The word about us seems to be getting out there and we’re doing a show with The Black Seeds at the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, which will be fantastic,” Ninh says.

Catch Electric Wire Hustle and Isaac Aesili and The Vision at Subculture tomorrow from 9pm

“Then because we were played on the Benji B show on Radio 1, other invites started coming in and we’ll also now be doing cities like Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris and Warsaw. It’s all been happening so fast and been a bit mind-blowing.

“I’ve always dreamed of getting to Europe and to do it with the band will be such a buzz. We can’t wait.”