Live Review: Ball Park Music's love-filled Badlands gig
On the 16th of Febuary this year, Ball Park Music dropped their fifth album, titled Good Mood. Overall a more positive, loose-sounding record than their previous effort (the okay Every Night the Same Dream), the title also perfectly describes how the band left their crowd feeling on the 4th of March.
The evening kicked off soon after 5pm thanks to local lasses Telete. The duo have a knack for creating huge-sounding arrangements with just a synthesiser, violin and vocal harmonies, and had the crowd in a daze immediately. Next was up-and-comer Hatchie, who won me over as a certified new fan with her wondrous shoegaze sounds and hummable melodies. Capping off the opening acts was the huge-sounding Ali Barter, who had the now-sizable crowd singing along and clapping, particularly to trademark tune ‘Girlie Bits’. Already, the bar was set high for the main event.
Ball Park Music’s set was a high-energy celebration of the best parts of their almost-decade-long career. Kicking off with ‘Cocaine Lion’, the band promised to transform the Badlands carpark into a “rock and roll zone”, and did exactly that. They dipped generously into their back-catalogue, playing eternal favourites like ‘She Only Loves Me When I’m There’, ‘Surrender’ and ‘Literally Baby’ amongst new material like main-set closer ‘Exactly How You Are’. They even resurrected deep-cut ‘Cost of Lifestyle’, a surprise addition that had the audience cheering.
Towards the beginning of the set, frontman Sam Cromack warned that he was struggling with a chest infection. Regardless, he was in top form, with only the occasional voice-crack demonstrating his ill health. The band appeared in good spirits, clearly thriving off the huge reactions from the crowd. Guitarist Dean Hanson was particularly animated, jumping about the stage with seemingly tireless passion. A solo, acoustic rendition of ‘It’s Nice to Be Alive’ was the biggest singalong of the night, amongst heavy competition. Finally, the band obliged calls for an encore with ‘End Times’ (the opening track to their latest record) and the timeless ‘iFly’.
Ball Park Music are veterans of the Australian tour circuit at this point in their career, and with sets like this, it’s no wonder why. There was plenty of love in the air on that night, buzzing about the room as the crowd filed away.