Review: Airling – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne

Jack Grace warms up the Northcote Social Club with momentous sound production and hauntingly delicate vocals. With help from beat maker Christopher Port by his side, together they create a deep textured sound full of emotional intensity. He performs tracks from his recently released River EP that boasts elements of glitchy effects and euphoric melodies to draw us in. "Thanks for listening and being so...Melbourne,” Grace says to the captivated audience soaking up every note.

Airling begins with the first music track on her debut album I Am Just A Body, as she sings the title of the album in the lyrics, “So hard to sleep, but so easy to dream." It’s the perfect opener to introduce us to her performance tonight. The powerful song is symbolic of finding the light in the darkest places and puts us in a trance-like state. “Sorry we're late, it's kind of the story of my life,” she laughs and alludes to the long awaited release of this record. “I project lateness and you project beautifulness,” she tells the sold out crowd as she delves into Take Care Of You.

Airling mixes in a few older tracks including Wasted Pilots, Stallin’ and the beloved Japanese Wallpaper track on which features, Forces. “How awesome is Airling?” says a person standing nearby. It’s clear that fans are very happy to hear these favourite tracks during the set. Tom lansak makes a guest appearance to join her on stage for their duet, A Day In The Park. It’s a special moment as the duo, including guitarist Graham Ritchie, make up the dream team who recorded and produced the album. This particular track is stripped back and peaceful, using only their voices as the instruments.

Shut The Light Out is a pivotal moment of the performance and showcases Airling’s perfect vocal restraint. We close our eyes and listen to her beautiful angelic breathy vocals and wispy falsetto that guide us into a meditative state. She asks for a tissue, “I promise I’m not crying!” she says, although the emotional song makes certain there isn’t a dry eye in the room. Move Me and Not A Fighter lift our spirits with a more upbeat vibe full of looped beats and seductive baselines to dance along to.

Roma Rose is a fitting track to end on and also the last song on the album. Airling positions herself in front of her keyboard to perform the quiet track solo. The room is still and the audience is completely silent as she sings the ode to her mum. We feel calm and relaxed. As we exit the venue it’s temping to rest our heads on the soft pillowcases at the merch desk, longing to dream.

Written by: Michael Prebeg