Ball Park Music have been on the road for the last month and over the weekend played 3 shows at The Corner. Monday night saw them play the 4th Melbourne show with support from Papa vs. Pretty and bring their Puddinghead tour to a brilliant close.

I arrived with just enough time to grab a drink before Papa vs. Pretty took the stage. The opening song started slowly and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to stay awake for a soft set but they kicked it into gear and to my delight it got faster and heavier. In a scare early on in the set, singer Tom Rawle’s guitar amp died so to keep the crowd’s attention he gave a rousing (and possibly fictional) account of the invention of carpet while the rhythm section began playing some jazz. As much as they enjoyed the story, the crowd was delighted as a distorted chord rung out from the now repaired amp, signalling that the show was back on the road. During quiet moments of the set I noticed a bit of chatter from the back of the room (as is quite common at Corner shows) but the vibe from the majority of the audience was overwhelmingly positive.

When the time came for Ball Park Music to take the stage the crowd cheered somewhat prematurely (3 times) as the house music and then the house lights faded out but the curtain failed to open. After the band finally did appear and play their opening track, singer Sam Cromack welcomed everyone to the show. “Thanks for coming out on a Monday night, I understand that’s a big deal but make sure you get fucked up.” With the second song, ‘It’s Nice to Be Alive’, the whole crowd began to sing along, and it continued for the rest of the night, climaxing with ‘She Only Loves Me When I’m There’ when the crowd overpowered Cromack’s vocals.

To add a bit of exposition to some of their songs, Cromack invited “Australia’s greatest storyteller” (aka Tom from Papa Vs Pretty) to explain the story behind the writing of a few different songs, including ‘Trippin’ The Light Fantastic’ and he got a huge response from the large group of nerds after dropping an Age of Empires reference into his entirely nonsensical ‘recollection’. Meanwhile, later in the set, a dancer in a ‘Puddinghead’ costume who invaded the stage was revealed to once again be Tom from Papa vs Pretty, and Cromack announced that he had won the award for consistently being the most wasted on the tour.

While it may have been the last show of the tour and Cromack thought his voice sounded like he’d “eaten a big bag of dicks”, Ball Park Music had the entire crowd with them from even before they took the stage right to the very end of the set. Their energy was infectious and it’s easy to see why they’re so loved as a live act.

Wes Fahey

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