Yes, I went on both nights to see Ball Park Music perform at The Gov on their Trippin’ the Light Fantastic tour. Yes, those were my fourth and fifth times seeing the band. And yes, I am a fan.
After the initial Wednesday show selling out quickly, the Brisbane band added another date, which they have never had to do before in Adelaide, despite playing at the same venue five months previously. Thus, the Wednesday crowd were generally keen fans who had nabbed tickets as soon as they could.
The Tuesday crowd seemed to be a mix of younger fans at their first gig (good choice, kids) and some Ball Park veterans rolling their eyes at kids screaming because they spotted Sam peeking behind the curtain. Waiting in the heat had made a large portion of the crowd sleepy, and by the time Pluto Jonze had made an appearance, yawns, baffled looks and folded arms confronted him, which was unfortunate because his quirky set was hardly yawn-worthy. The audience mainly stood still through 'Millions' too, and barely got into the first few Ball Park songs. That being said, the band seemed tired too. They were still good, but lacked their usual cheeky energy. It was a disappointment to see Cocaine Lion absent from the setlist, but instead they played Struggle Street for the first time on tour.
However, Wednesday was a different story. These were the hardcore fans (well, apart from the girl waiting in line who boasted to everyone within earshot that she didn’t know one song and had only listened to them the night before and was only there because her friend was). Sydney’s Pluto Jonze received a warm welcome, and he had the crowd bopping along right from Plastic Bag in a Hurricane to the annoyingly catchy Eject, all the while playing a theremin like a dark wizard conjuring curses. Smartly- dressed Millions from Brisbane were at ease, with lead singer Dom’s voice likely winning over a lot of new followers.
But the crowd was there for one band. And that band did not fail to impress. Whatever they had lacked in the night before was more than made up for. Ball Park are not a band who ignore their fans; they shuffled their setlist, replacing Shithaus with Cocaine Lion, and opening with Struggle Street. Their fantastic cover of Vampire Weekend’s Diane Young was moved to the middle of the set instead of the encore, which was Fence Sitter. The strong chemistry between the band was evident on this night; they joked with each other and the crowd, some of whom still were wearing their 3D glasses halfway through the set, unaware they did “shit all”, as Sam eloquently confessed. Jen, the bass player, who is usually rather shy, bounced about happily in the middle of the stage alongside Dean. The crowd sung along the full time, and danced and swayed as one body, which meant that not one song appeared to be a favourite.
It cannot be stressed enough: if you have never been along to a BPM gig then you’re missing out. They put on a better show than a lot of international bands, and they’re a down to earth bunch, even if their songs include sheep on clouds.
Review and photograph by Kirsten Mooney