Ball Park Music are an Indie Pop band from Brisbane, Australia, who have achieved great things in the Australian music industry since their debut four years ago. The band, consisting of five members – Sam Cromack (lead vocals & guitar), Jen Boyce (vocals & bass), Dean Hanson (guitar & backing vocals), Daniel Hanson (drums & backing vocals) and Paul Furness (keys & trombone) – have three hit albums under their belts, with multiple songs making the Triple J Hottest 100 list of the respective year they were released.
In April 2014, Ball Park Music released their third album, Puddinghead. The Puddinghead tour saw them playing major cities, before launching the Trippin’ The Light Fantastic Tour which sees them return to these cities with the welcome addition of some regional towns – including my current residence of Townsville, Queensland. The Trippin’ tour brings Ball Park Music to their very first headline show in Townsville, which met to great success as they played to a close-to-sold-out crowd of over 18 fans at The Venue on September 19, 2014.
I first saw Ball Park Music at the River Sessions Festival (Mackay) in 2013, and have been in love with them ever since. I just couldn’t pass up seeing them again at their own headline show after the amazing performance they put on last time! The Trippin’ tour was billed to be Ball Park’s biggest tour yet, featuring a light show equally as amazing as previous tours and visual effects so realistic, it’s almost as if the band is actually there! These light-hearted marketing gimmicks were followed up with free 3D glasses being handed out at the door.
The show opened with Pluto Jonze and Millions, who would’ve been much more enjoyable if I had known their songs. After three and a half hours of waiting after the doors had opened, Ball Park Music finally hit the stage, opening with Shithaus and quickly following that up with a long list of hits, mostly from their debut album Happiness and Surrounding Suburbs. Prior to the show, I had seen the setlist of the only previous show of the tour, and was surprised when they added in a couple of extra songs to Townsville’s show as opposed to their Hobart show. I was standing in the third row, directly in front of Sam and Jen, and I loved it!
I found that the band lacked the excitable energy they had back in 2013, with the exception of when Sad Rude Future Dude was played, which had Sam dancing at the front of the stage. Their newer songs required both guitars and Jen’s bass, which meant that Sam was not able to move around as freely due to needing to play the guitar. Most members also seemed a bit drunk, and Sam was drinking directly from a wine bottle the entire show! The intervals between songs were enjoyable, which saw them making fun of their marketing the tour as a “3D experience” – “because all f*cking concerts are in 3D”, as Sam eloquently put it.
This was my first 18+ show, and it was an interesting experience. I certainly wasn’t as squished into the front of the crowd as I do at festivals, as everyone liked their own space, but midway through the show two tall, burly guys who were obviously drunk became very pushy towards myself and the girls around me, pushing me into other people as they stumbled around the crowd despite attempts to push them away made by everyone around them. Eventually they were forced out of the mosh, allowing us all to feel a little bit safer.
Their setlist was impressive, packing nearly all of their hits into two and a half hours, including some of their newer songs. Admittedly, I don’t enjoy Ball Park’s slower songs as much as their more upbeat ones, and this setlist offered a few of those. They remixed their massive hit iFly into a slow, ballad-like version – which was an impressive remix, but slightly disappointing as I adore the original version’s energy.
Setlist (to the best of my memory):
Polly Screw My Head Back On
It’s Nice To Be Alive
Sad Rude Future Dude
Everything is Sh*t Except My Friendship With You
All I Want Is You
Girls From High School
She Only Loves Me When I’m There
Trippin’ The Light Fantastic
Fence Sitter (Encore)
As we entered the venue, we were handed a VIP Pass to meet the band afterwards (score!) but, as this was offered freely to everyone who walked in, we expected the “afterparty” that was advertised to be packed. Thankfully, it wasn’t so – as a lot of the younger crowd who had made their way up gave up on waiting for the band after the 10-15 minute mark. After a bit of waiting, however, Ball Park Music entered the room, and at this point there were probably only 30 or so people. Naturally, groups of people snapped them up for conversations as soon as they entered, leaving those of us who just wanted a quick photo in fear of interrupting. I managed to catch Jen as she moved from one conversation to another, and caught Sam just as he walked in the door later on! As much as I would’ve loved to meet the other boys, it was late by this point and I had a long drive ahead of me back home, so we left just satisfied that our favourite band were just standing in a small room in such a casual environment with us.
Myself & Jen
Myself, Sam & my friend Tarryn
Ball Park Music are absolutely incredible live, and continue to be such an underrated band. They certainly deserve more recognition for what they do, and they have the potential to have a massive fanbase both nationally and internationally. I’m certainly glad they were willing to play in a smaller city, despite the show not selling out as their others have, and at the same time I’m glad that the crowd was small enough to feel like an intimate show. I can only hope that they return to Townsville or Mackay for a festival or another headline show sometime in the future, as I will definitely be willing to see them again!
I took a few quick videos of the concert, check it out below:
I highly encourage all of you to see a Ball Park Music show in your lifetime!
Sarah May xxx