Those who failed to buy tickets were sitting in the curb on Saturday night as hometown heroes Ball Park Music greeted a sold-out show at the Tivoli. For what seems to be the hardest-working band in Australia’s music scene at the moment, it was a sure sign of respect from their Brisbane neighbours. There was an undeniable buzz in the air, and what a night it was for alternative Australian rock. The crowd surged early to catch opening band Loon Lake. Anyone could have mistaken the Melbourne boys as the main act. Their fill-in drummer’s energy on stage was a highlight – but the best was still to come.
Opening with the leading track off their new album Museum, Fence Sitter turned into a wild impromptu medley with the 2010 single Sad Rude Future Dude. The room burst into life when the ever-so-charismatic frontman Sam Cromack thundered, “Hello Brisbane!” mid song. It is no secret that this juggernaut has built a reputation for one of the best live shows going around, and tonight was certainly no exception.
Sam sings real world songs that people can relate to. Their new track, Cost of Lifestyle, refrains: ‘Stop selling me shit that I don’t need.’ This is rather ironic actually, given that moments before he was plugging the merch stand. Nevertheless, this down-tempo song delivered some sweet mellow sounds, adding a level of depth and maturity to their renowned iconic party pop structure. On stage, they looked comfortable, but in the audience it probably caught out some of the diehard triple j fans that were yet to learn the words.
Just when you think you’ve seen and heard it all for one night, on comes a little tune by Frankie Valli called December 1963 (Oh what a night) – a true compliment to the evening. It tied together a performance of both new and old original songs (which, let’s be honest, are really not even that old) from a band overflowing with musical concepts, to a venue overflowing with lovers of BPM.
“Let’s play a song about something we all agree on,” Sam asserted. “That Gina Rinehart is a dirty bitch!” It was a heartfelt and passionate segway to rich people are stupid, to which there were no objections. A working class band, they certainly know how to capture the hearts and minds of everyone in the room. On-stage antics, birthday shout-outs, outrageous claims, and even a beach ball is all in a nights work for these guys (and girl). In the middle of a song, the band paused to take a photo of the swollen crowd with the new iPhone 5, which he sarcastically suggested was the best phone ever.
“I want everyone to put your hands in the air,” Sam said. But it was no ordinary request (well, is it ever with this band?). He asked everybody to stay perfectly still with their hands stretching towards the ceiling so the iPhones panorama feature would work. Like obedient school children, people froze like exhibits in a museum for a timeless memento in Ball Park Music’s history.