Nite Society feat. Millions, Step-Panther @ Transit Bar, Canberra (14/7/12)

While they may dress like they’re channelling some 90’s garage grunge band, Step-Panther do more than just pay homage to another era. With their jangling guitar riffs, moody lyrics and growly vocals this is a band who can boast an impressively varied repertoire and show their material can be both current and retrospective. The trio delivered their most popular songs including Rock and Roll Alone, Jimmy and Fight like a Knight to a suitably enthused audience.

Sadly the sound at this particular show let them down a little, not doing justice to the vocal range that is evident when listening to the band in hard copy. The band too seemed a little flat and didn’t deliver all the vitality audiences might expect based on the energy and enthusiasm the guys show in their film clips. As such, Step Panther didn’t exactly get the crowd heated up in preparation for the headliners, but they did at least manage to keep them from wandering off before the main event, and put in a valiant effort.

Even if Step Panther weren’t your cup of tea, relatively new kids of the indie block Millions delivered the kind of show you would expect given their impressive leap into the limelight since bursting onto the music scene in early 2011. The guys sweet but rocking tracks like Guru and Those Girls had the crowd wild for the charming indie outfit, who were clearly enjoying themselves as well. The band’s infectiously upbeat numbers had almost everyone in Transit Bar on their feet and ramming themselves against the stage just to get a little closer to the boys from Brisbane. However it was the gorgeously poignant and aptly named Slow Burner that got the strongest reaction from the crowd, with the predictable swaying, singing along and even a couple of tears – this one song truly capped off a spectacular effort by the bewitchingly cute rockers.

In addition to being talented and charming, the band are also surprisingly humble and nice. After offering this reporter a set list (jealous ladies?), they were perfectly happy to have a chat about the show, their tour, and the fact that they were about to drive to Sydney as soon as they got their gear packed up. If that kind of dedication or possibly insanity doesn’t get them far, their ability, appeal and lovely manners will.

These two bands were quite the score for Nite Society, which once again managed to secure top quality acts for the comparatively small Transit Bar, and get it packed out despite the typically frigid Canberra weather. Nite Society’s co-ordinating juggernaut Duncan Brown, who is himself something of a triple threat, is clearly set on taking the event from strength to strength, and with successes like this we can expect to see many more great acts giving Canberrans a reason to leave the house after dark.