Being Ball Park Music’s last shows of the year, a ticket to the Thank Ewe tour was seen as hot property. For good reason too, with the much loved Australian band known for bringing out something special when they step on stage. Their sold out show at The Forum Theatre? Well it was no exception.
Kicking off the night with his fast paced, rock and rolling tunes was Jeremy Neale. Taking to the stage in a somewhat awkward silence, he then went on to explain that “the star trek theme was supposed to play” in celebration of the fact that William Shatner was indeed, in the same city.
That introduction managed to sum up Neale’s entire set – amusing and random banter, laced with a warm, witty personality that flowed through each and every track. Counting down tracks from opener ‘Do Do Do’ all the way to final song, the Triple J hit ‘In Stranger Times,’ Neale, with the help of his band, performed a fun, laid back set that was nothing all that extraordinary – but then again it didn’t need to be.
Between sets, the crowd had substantially filled out for hometown eight-piece Eagle And The Worm, who were next on the supporting bill. From the very first track, it was obvious that the band were incredibly talented – with each instrument coming together cohesively as one rolling melody. Track ‘All I Know’ with it’s rapturous sampling of ‘Aquarela Do Brasil’ and duo vocals worked perfectly, while the four part harmonies and building drum beat or ‘Too Young’ created a soaring, urgent track that was incredible to listen to and watch being performed live.
The band however, seemed to lose some appeal and energy as the jumped from track to track. Unlike each song performed individually, as a whole the mismatched set just didn’t work to get the best out of the band.
Debuting the self confessed “trashy new one” lead singer Jarrad Brown introduced ‘Heart In My Pocket’ a somewhat punk influenced track with a healthy sized serving of slap bass.
The Melbourne band did indeed cover many styles and proved that they are a broadly talented bunch. Even through their set didn’t come together as cohesively as they do, they still put on that a great show that received a well deserved positive response from the crowd.
Taking to the darkened stage after the band’s intro track, ABBA’s ‘Thank You For The Music’ had played almost all the way through, Ball Park Music had no intentions of keeping the absolutely packed crowd of The Forum waiting any longer – immediately jumping straight into playing latest single, ‘Bad Taste Blues Pt. ||,’ before a quick segue into crowd favourite ‘Surrender.’
Keeping his reputation as quite the banterer at shows, lead vocalist Sam Cromack was constantly chatting to the crowd at one stage, dedicating one particular song to a fan who’d been to every Victorian show, while at another stage, encouraging the crowd to film the premiere of a new song and put it on YouTube.
Featuring a set packed full of tracks from debut record Happiness And Surrounding Suburbs, latest release Museum as well as an old single ‘Sea Strangers,’ all Ball Park Music fans (and those dragged along) were in for a good night. The track that received the biggest response of the night from the loving crowd however, was not one that you’d expect. Armed with a ‘white boy funk’ intro and some seriously impressive ‘Mmm Bop’s’ mid chorus, ‘Glass Jar’ had the crowd singing and dancing along, all while reliving the great era of music that gave us Hanson.
Alongside favourites such as ‘All I Wanted Was You,’ ‘It’s Nice To Be Alive’ and ‘IFLY’ -complete with fabulous yet dorky dancing from Cromack, the band debuted another new track possibly named ‘Teenager Pie.’ A slower track, it sounds somewhat different to former material, yet it still holds the signature lyrics that are so uniquely Ball Park Music.
Bringing the party for final song ‘Fence Sitter’ there was much dancing – on and off stage, before becoming a jazz rendition of the tune to which the band played themselves off to one by one, until it was just the roar of an ecstatic crowd which could be heard.
Finishing on a definite high, there wasn’t a need for an encore as such – yet the crowd was granted one anyway. The band having been “very impressed with the foot stomping.” Featuring Alligator and a cover of ‘Eight Days A Week’, the encore was a nice touch, but the strange section of tracks seemed to take away the energy that the band had initially finished with.
Overall, it was simply a fun night for everyone involved. Nothing too spectacular, just good music and some good laughs. Exactly what you’d expect from a band like Ball Park Music