Ball Park Music - Splendour in the Grass 2016 Review
Ball Park Music first appeared at Splendour in the Grass in 2014, scoring a position on the prized amphitheatre stage and playing a legendary set that secured their transition from a Brisbane indie band into Australian alt-rock staples.
2 years later they returned to Splendour, taking to the G.W. McLennan Tent early on the Saturday night to give their keen audience another unique experience to remember.
Drawing a crowd well in advance to the commencement of the set, and packing the tent to its brim throughout, was a testament of the band’s continued success. Since their last Splendour set, the band has only grown, touring across Europe and throughout Australia and working on a new album set for release in a few weeks. Given this, it is a wonder why they were downgraded from the Amphitheatre. One can only imagine that given a headlining set time, they would’ve drawn a crowd on par with, if not rivalling, that of The Cure.
Nevertheless, Ball Park graced the smaller stage with ease, paying homage to their humble beginnings and love for intimate gigs.
Their set was a well-rounded tour through the singles off their past 3 albums as well as their upcoming release Every Night The Same Dream - a smart move from a band who knows that playing a festival set is very different to playing a gig where audience members have solely come to see them. This meant that the entire audience, whether die-hard fans of the band or not, were at the very least able to sing along to the chorus of each song.
On entering the stage, the band wasted none of their precious set time messing around, immediately bursting into the iconic riff of their euphoric hit Trippin’ The Light Fantastic, before harking back to their playful souls with Sad Rude Future Dude.
Their performance of Pariah, the first release off their upcoming album, was a showcase of each band member’s individual expertise with their instrument of choice. The 7 minute long marathon of a song defies most rules for attaining radio airplay, given its length. Performed live however, the song is pure musical genius. It allows ample time to flaunt the separate elements that together form the band, and acts somewhat as a voyeurism into what an IRL Ball Park Music rehearsal jam must look like.
The band also used their set as a chance to premiere their next single, Whipping Boy, a few days before its official release. Frontman Sam Cromack, nonchalantly posed the question to the audience, “How would you guys feel about us playing a brand new song we haven’t played before?” To no one’s surprise, he was met with a cacophony of cheers/woos/screams/other illegible sounds, signifying the audience’s thirst for new Ball Park Music. Even if they couldn’t sing along to the words yet, the crowd most definitely danced along, marking Whipping Boy as a single to watch out for.
The only thing that excited the audience more than their exclusive listen to new music, was the band’s rendition of their legendary tune It’s Nice to Be Alive. Being five years old now, the decision to strip the song back to just Cromack’s voice and his guitar kept things fresh whilst showing the band’s acute awareness for what the people want. Fans will always expect to hear the classics at gigs, but for a band that has played many a gig, it is important for them to change things up sometimes, so that they can give the audiences both the set list they desire as well as an original performance. In addition to keeping things novel, the resulting simplicity of the decision let the song’s lyrical genius shine through. There is something truly life-affirming and goosebump-evoking about hearing thousands of people chant “we’re cool, we’re f**king amazing” in sync.
Before wrapping things up with their latest single, Nihilist Party Anthem, Cromack personally thanked the audience for their unwavering enthusiasm throughout the entire set. “Oh my god Splendour! You guys have been fucking amazing!”
Closing with their latest single, Ball Park finished their set’s journey from the happy-go-lucky highs of Trippin’ to the rebellious lows of Nihilist; a journey that mimics the day to day emotions of their young millennial fans in a world that has become so very unpredictable. It is Ball Park’s ability to keep their music real and relatable that makes it so meaningful to this generation. Combine this with their ability to make a jam-packed tent of people dance their hearts out for an hour and you have the wonderful set that was their 2016 Splendour appearance.
Ball Park Music’s new album Every Night The Same dream is set for release on the 19th August 2016.
Trippin’ The Light Fantastic
Sad Rude Future Dude
It’s Nice To Be Alive
Everything is Shit Except My Friendship With You
She Only Loves Me When I’m There
Nihilist Party Anthem