Live Review: NYCK, Jack The Fox, Ruby Whiting

20 December 2019 | 12:47 pm | Pat Boxall

"The room is silent, save for the occasional sniffle."

To borrow a line from Jack The Fox: "Oh, here we are." It may be the season to be jolly, but upstairs at the Gaso ‘tis the season to say holy shit. Santa himself – Nick Acquroff from NYCK – is on the door with musical gifts to welcome one and all, though one would hardly describe NYCK’s music as merry.

Ruby Whiting ably opens proceedings, a familiar face to those who visit the Queen Vic Markets, and is followed by Jack The Fox, a talented duo hailing from Victoria’s surf coast. With a small but incredibly strong catalogue of music including Brother, Here We Are and Open Water, Angus Robb’s seismic vocals are matched by Justin Lewis’ deft work around the guitar. They cover Xavier Rudd’s Follow The Sun and are joined on stage by Hayden Calnin and Alana Wilkinson for 'Pink & Blue', a touching unreleased track written for Robb’s late mother. It’s an emotional but beautiful way to end the set and we’re eagerly awaiting new music from the boys soon.

At the start of the night, Nick Acquroff said that he and Dominique Garrard (the other half of NYCK) booked the Gaso upstairs because they like playing full rooms, and as the minutes tick down that room is getting fuller and fuller. Adorned in fairy lights and cluttered with adoring fans, the space morphs into a living room. It feels like stumbling into a stranger’s house at 4am and being welcomed not only with open arms, but also with the soundtrack to your messy, all-too-beautiful life.

NYCK released their debut album Wild Streak in October but it’s live – in what feels like an almost clandestine performance – that the emotional weight of the songs hit home. They open with LXE and move through several tracks from the album including Wild Streak, June and Alive, as well as earlier favourites Decision and This Might Be My Year. A choir made up of Garrard’s music students join the duo and the already haunting vocals soar to new heights. The room is silent, save for the occasional sniffle, and NYCK let their harmonies and lyrics fill the small spaces in the crowd that, funnily enough, now feel achingly full.