Walking down the Hackney Road en route to Shoreditch you could so easily miss The Sebright Arms. Tucked away down a dubious looking alleyway, just past New York Nails, it’s a hidden gem. Boasting a mouth-watering array of real ales and ciders, equally delicious food and a perfect sweat-box venue hidden away in the bowels downstairs; it’s worth treating yourself to a visit. Acts including Rose Elinor Dougall, East India Youth and Eagulls will be gracing the basement in the coming months.
On this night, it was Australian indie-rockers Millions topping the bill, with support from ‘shred monsters’, (Millions’ words, not mine) Rafiki and Horsefight. Due to a complete underestimation of how far the pub was from any station of any variety I managed to miss the Rafiki set, although I can still tell you they are loud and rock the f*** out because as whilst I was upstairs ordering the cheapest pint in the entire pub I felt them vibrate up through the floor and nearly melt my shoes.
The night was young, but the vibrations were more than promising! Down into the bowels I descended to catch second the support act, Horsefight. Despite a thin and sobering crowd, their snarling brand of thrash was flung upon the room with cocky snarls and driving guitars. Horsefight’s stage-presence reeked of swagger and I could only imagine how badass the hum must have felt upstairs.‘Cold in the Winter’ and ‘Stilt Skin’ were standout tracks and the ferocity of the set brought Australian duo, DZ Deathrays to mind.
After what was a heavy undercard, the crowd thickened and it was time for the main event. First things first, it needs to be said that Millions are a suave bunch of dudes. Creeping onto the stage all timid but well pressed, they had an intriguing band aesthetic. Kitted out in well-fitted blazers and rocking shirts with buttons popped, their threads suggested that they should have been someplace fancy, but their hair suggested they’d probably skate there.
Hailing from Brisbane, the well-travelled four-piece have done serious tour time! Slots on all the major Australian festival bills are guaranteed for next year and they’ve toured alongside the likes of PEACE and Perth band of the hour, San Cisco. Support slots in the northern hemisphere have been equally impressive, supporting a certain P Doherty and his infant shambles for two dates across the UK.
Back to Thursday night at the Sebright Arms. The crowd were being treated to an audio feast. The shaky start was banished from memory with The Jam-esque opening seconds to ‘Those Girls’, an infectious indie banger that proved impossible to keep still to. Minimal small talk was spared between songs but you could tell that confidence was building throughout the set as frontman Dom closed his eyes from time to time before unleashing a soulful howl.
This became more regular throughout the set. Despite coming across as timid, there was a distinctive stage presence about the lead singer, sharp movements from time to time complimented his croons. An especially entertaining example played out as the mic stand repeatedly became loose, slowly slipping away during a verse before being swiped back into position and howled into for the chorus. The performance was as passionate as it was peaceful.
Millions pack tunes also. ‘Citrus’ and ‘Stone Rollin’’ are upbeat, preppy future hits, bringing to mind The Strokes and Vampire Weekend. ‘Stone Rollin’’ provides an especially catchy chorus, and loosened the static crowd to indulge in some foot tapping and movement, with a few even mouthing along to the lyrics “Can you give me what I want? Because you’re the only girl I dream about.” Quicker tempo songs were complimented by their slower counterparts. Recent EP title track ‘Cruel’ is a beautifully, chilled out charmer evoking a blissful prom band feel with impressive vocals draped over sun-bleached guitar.
The appropriately named ‘Slow Burner’ is an equally delicate track that proved to be a set highlight. Announced in an almost nervous murmur “here’s a song, I quite like it, hope you do to…” (cue epic swooning from the largely female crowd), ‘Slow Burner’ built on its fragile introduction, reaching an emphatic chorus that had the crowd swaying rhythmically. The confidence accumulated throughout the set was evident as frontman Dom Haddad triumphantly howled the final verse and chorus. The lad had some serious pipes on him!
Stomping drums and rumbling bass signalled the arrival of another indie banger:, ‘Nineteen’. Equally as infectious as ‘Those Girls’ it saw the Brisbane boys at their musical best and got the best out of an unfortunately less energetic crowd. After a few more songs, a little small talk regarding Brisbane (aka Brizzy; aka Brisvegas), the set was complete.
The Sebright Arms gig showcased that Millions have an exciting time ahead of them. They are masters of the catchy ‘indie banger,’ something undeniably important in getting the musical ball rolling in the UK. They play with a calm, but self-assured energy and as confidence built throughout the set the crowd were made to realise how talented the Aussie lads are both musically and vocally. Their softer musical moments are beautiful and the recorded versions deserve to
be investigated further.
At a time when the Australian music scene is exploding onto our doorstep, Millions are more than capable of competing with the best of them and with a little more exposure this side of the equator there is no reason why their name can’t translate into record sales.