Ball Park Music @ The Palace Theatre

“Our next exhibit is Museum, by Ball Park Music” a booming voice informed us as the lights dimmed on the Palace Theatre in Melbourne, shortly before the fairground organ intro to ‘Fence Sitter’ saw the group bounce on stage, led by Sam Cromack, the beautiful geek with hips that just wont quit who fronts the band, whose powerful voice defies his age, and whose powerful screams that punctuate their earlier work defy his image. Joined by twin brother rhythm section Dean and Dan Hanson, Jennifer Boyce the bass-playing pixie, and keyboardist Paul Furness, who seemed to be itching to get out of his seat (and actually managed to when he pulled out an actual trombone towards the end of the set for ‘iFly’), together they make an absolutely a-dork-able indie-rock family, and they’re leading the pack of young Australian bands nurtured by the airwaves of our national youth broadcaster.

There was a twinge of irony hearing the line “Stop selling me shit that I don’t need” sung in unison by the dozens of punters filming the song on their iPhones, but ‘Cost of Lifestyle’ is such a great song it doesn’t really matter. The social commentary on greed and desire continued with ‘Rich People Are Stupid’, and the guitar solo in ‘All I Want Is You’ reminded you that Ball Park Music don’t really have that many guitar solos, but that they really probably definitely should.

A selection of slower numbers from the more mature and diverse ‘Museum’ had hands swaying in the air, before they took it back to where it all began with Happiness And Surrounding Suburbs album opener ‘Literally Baby’ exploding out of the speakers. They tipped their hat to the glory of pop music past with their unique cover of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons’ ‘Oh What A Night’, and all the girls present found themselves wishing their boyfriend was in a band as the group dominated with gentle rocker ‘Surrender’.

Augmented by strobes that they could have reigned in a little for the sake of our retinas, and a delightfully unexpected stagedive by lead singer Cromack (of course, not before removing his spectacles), Ball Park Music are on the cusp of being a premier live act – they have oohs and aahs in all the right places, and any awkwardness on display can only be attributed to their years (or lack thereof).

As this show, and their Museum tour drew to a close, the band took the time to pass out setlist, drumsticks and guitar picks, before standing shoulder to shoulder and bowing graciously. A bright future lies ahead for this five piece – Let’s hope they keep churning out albums and tours at the rate they have so far, as it would seem they’ve got plenty more to give.

Jack

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