Brisbane is at it again: sending down another young band endowed with some of the catchiest, most appealing tunes produced in Australia in the last six months. Tonight, it’s in the form of the five young men who from Millions and they’re here to launch their new EP, Nine Lives, Six Degrees.
Along for the ride is local dudes, Step-Panther, “and we’re trying but sometimes we fail” says lead singer Stevesie, injecting oh so much confidence into the forming crowd at the Northcote Social Club. Perhaps the band wishes to set up their listeners with some low expectations and then proceed to blow the audience away but in this case, it’s a bit of a hit and miss.
With songs titles like “Super Power” and “Skull Face”, they appear to be the only lyric repeated over and over again on top of breakneck speed electric guitar and drums. Their songs become a bit predictable, but the trio’s energy remains high and they very effectively gain the room’s attention with their short and sweet skate park tunes. The sound coming through is brilliant, which perhaps may be more props to the sound team rather than the actual band.
They brought none of that Queensland winter sunshine to thaw ourselves out in; instead, Millions bring some impressive stage attire, strings of silver fairy lights and of course their raw, lo-fi and charming garage pop to proceedings.
Indeed, the five-piece has their best three-piece suits on and an even more attractive set planned; the gentleman sound as sharp as they look. They kick things off with “Those Girls” and immediately we slip under the doona of suave rock n roll and for the next hour we stay snuggled there.
Lead singer, Dominic Haddad, can seriously croon and their brilliant cover of The Ronette’s “Be My Baby” sets the entire room positively swooning with their 70s-style harmonies, while a new song of theirs is a flawlessly structured crowd pleaser with a heap of layers being presented to us from the musicians on stage; it feels refreshing to see clear roles up there at front of stage.
Guitarist Ted Tilbrook manages to poke fun at the matching black tailoring they’ve indulged in, quipping, “we’re gonna play a slightly slower song… we just came from a high school formal so, you know, it feels appropriate!”
Even in Millions’ slower ballads, absolutely nothing is lost. It’s the highlight of the night and “Going Overseas” proves to be an immensely moving piece of straining emotion and bright golden flood lights enveloping the close-knit punters, as effectively as if the band did bring the Brisbane sun down with them. Each double hit of the bass drum reflects in your own heartbeat and each emotional plea from Haddad further breaks it apart bit by bit.
“Guru” is the second last song and the only shame is that it’s taken up until the end of their set for the audience to start dancing. The band is visibly pleased, however; stoked smiles slipping through their singing.
Largely due to the generous triple j air time they’ve received for “Slow Burner”, it’s the last song played tonight and a mosh belatedly forms and squeals to enjoy the radio favourite single. It’s the only song the audience bellows along with and live, “Slow Burner” takes on more of a slick, electrifying form over its lo-fi recorded version.
The band slows it down to an instrumental by the end of the performance and let the typical Northcote crowd coolly compose themselves again before finishing smoothly with a brush of drum cymbals and guitar reverb to linger in the air before us.
Millions put on a tight performance and it’s impossible not to fall in love with their whole aesthetic on stage: lights, music and the lads themselves – they scrub up well in every sense possible. Here’s hoping the next Brisbane band who are on their way down will bring with a similarly sure-fire aptitude for music now expected from the Sunshine State.
– Anne-Louise Hill