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Live Review: Ball Park Music w/ Mid Ayr @ The Zoo

© Tom Sue Yek

Ball Park Music are back and they’re bigger, better, and more Brisbane than ever. The quintessential pop quintet rounded off their first east coast tour in over a year with a sold out gig at The Zoo. Tour support came in the welcome form of local lad Mid Ayr (a.k.a. The Trouble With Templeton alumni Hugh Middleton), who took to the stage with all the aloofness of a much more experienced artist.

Providing music that was reminiscent of rolling mountains and vocals that belong in front of a crackling fire, Mid Ayr charmed the figurative pants off the swelling audience. Latest single Letting You In added a touch of triple j familiarity to the set, while Middleton’s forceful, pained vocals contributed a little excitement to an otherwise relatively peaceful set.

Ball Park Music (BPM) appeared like clockwork at 10:40pm sung onstage by The Beatles She’s So Heavy. Playing as their own hype men, BPM pulled out the big guns early hitting the unsuspecting crowd with the one two punch of IFLY and Literally Baby. It was a knockout combination that sent the audience into fits of euphoria, screaming along to every word. It seemed like a move towards rebirth as lead singer Sam Cromack humbly introduced the band as if the rapturous crowd didn’t already know their names, star signs and probably their home addresses too.

© Tom Sue Yek

We were teased with the promise of new material and this promise appeared as unreleased track Feelings. A jazzy little number that mixed the grounded fuzzy pop of OG BPM with some hazy psychedelia. Highlighting bassist Jen Boyce’s undeniable funk, Feelings gives hope that the next BPM record will see the band returning to their roots.

After a luxurious rendition of little heard track Coming Down off the band’s second album Museum we were treated to another newbie. Nihilist Party Anthem was the first taste we got of the fourth BPM album when it was released a few weeks ago and it’s the aural equivalent of being told you’re going to die and then being given a puppy. Inspired by the Facebook page Nihilist Memes, lyrics like “I’m a nihilist cause life is awful and you know it” are set against bubbly hooks to create the dank black humour we’ve come to expect from the band.

© Tom Sue Yek

Fan favourite Happy Healthy Citizen Of The Developed World Blues was prefaced with Cromack sharing a tasty tidbit about The Zoo being the first place the gang had every played a gig eight long years ago. A sentiment that fell hard on a crowd that had obviously been supporters right from the beginning.

Finishing off the main set with the regrettably overblown single Pariah the audience didn’t have to wait long for the band to return for the obligatory encore. First up Boyce and Cromack spoiled the crowd with an unbelievably delicate cover of the Elvis classic Can’t Help Falling In Love. Compounding warm fuzzies onto warm fuzzies this was followed up with It’s Nice To Be Alive, during which the audience was singing louder than Cromack and Boyce put together.

An unfortunate miss step saw the gang closing out the set with Cocaine Lion a forgettable track from ‘Puddinghead’ which isn’t a bad song by any means, but there is no matching the euphoria of praising living just for the heck of it.

A golden comeback from a much loved band, it was great to see Ball Park Music get back to their roots and let that distinct Brisbane musical dialect shine through.

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Photos by Tom Sue Yek