Ball Park Music were mind-blowingly epic.
Announcements of all-ages shows are often met with groans from older music fans deterred from rocking out with young’uns. However, knowing their age group well, ie. everyone ever, Ball Park Music’s first show at the Lake Kawana Community Centre was, as usual, mind-blowingly epic.
Tongue Tied Thieves started early with jangly guitars and boppy tunes. Whether it was low crowd numbers, pressure of supporting such a high calibre band, general nerves/jitters or just no genuine excitement to be playing, TTT had nearly zero stage presence. Playing to a room of stand-still sardines at 7pm is a tough gig, but nevertheless, there were no happy vibes or smiles at all. Their songs were catchy but they thanked the crowd with a super odd “please like us on Facebook”. So much was left to the imagination that anticipation for the next two bands could be felt in the air.
A band better than Jeremy Neale and his pals couldn’t have been plucked out of heaven if you tried. Nursing a dislocated knee, swinging crutches around in reckless joy, Neale completely changed the vibe of the room within minutes. Dragging his six-piece ensemble, featuring his Ron Burgundy doppelganger on drums, along with him through their short and sweet set, tracks included Merry-Go-Round and Swing Left, their set ending in the always crowd favourite, In Stranger Times. With his boyish cheek, he finished with worldly advice to “never listen to your doctor! He said I’d never rock again and look what I just did!” Neale sent the crowd into the clouds and beyond.
Ball Park Music are one of Australia’s best recent international success stories. Having just returned from the US this week, they’ve still got it (and more!). Opening on golden oldie Literally Baby followed by Everything Is Shit Except My Friendship With You, their set had the best bits of all their albums, which in itself is a bloody hard thing to achieve out of three stellar LPs in five years of releases. The all-ages tagline sometimes puts constraints on bands when there are nappy-clad babies around, but BPM always seem to know exactly how to work any crowd so it becomes as soft as putty. The set still featured around half of the tracks taken from their 2014 release, Puddinghead, and every word was sung (read: screamed) perfectly. Shitty pre-rehearsed encores are a musiclover’s most hated aspect of a good gig, leaving bitter tastes in mouths all around, but you know BPM are a genuinely awesome band when deafening foot-stomping brings on a totally unexpected cover of Vampire Weekend’s Diane Young. If Vampire Weekend are considered a class A act from whom BPM draw inspiration, as long as BPM carry on along this yellow brick road they’ve taken for the past few years, they’ve got stardom in the bag.
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