Photo and Words: Elize Strydom
The Zoo is filled with fresh faced lasses in floral dresses and boys with floppy hair and dance pants. As soon as the six members of Brisbane’s Ball Park Music hit the stage to room is on its feet and inching closer to the stage. It’s like were being sucked forward by the gloriously poppy sounds and irresistibly jangly guitars. And the trombone. How can anyone resist a trombone? This collective of shiny, happy young’uns have spent much of the year gigging around the city and attracting a little pack of supporters. They released an 8 track debut “Rolling on the floor, Laughing ourselves to sleep” early this year and some of the tracks have come to the attention of triple j heavyweights.
Tonight, every song is dedicated to someone different (Gary, Adam, Ben…the last song, Tick Tick, is for everyone!) and the band’s energy level seems to build and build. The songs are full of harmonies, hand claps and instrument-swapping. For the last song frontman Sam jumps off the stage and is swiftly followed by other members of the band who finish the song amongst the audience before people rush at them for a mega group-hug.
The room is fuller than before and we all stand a little closer to the stage as Sydney five-piece Deep Sea Arcade fire up. They’re quite a contrast after the sunshine and lollipops of Ball Park. Enigmatic frontman Nic prowls around the stage staring intensely at I’m not sure what. They sound sinister but it’s mixed with flashes of melody and psych-pop. Current single “Lonely in Your Arms” has a much lighter feel. It’s the kinda song that will still be swirling around your ears the morning after – Beatles-esque and dreamy. One tune has a distinct Radiohead (circa OK Computer) sound while others draw you into a dark and enchanted space, full of mystery. This is a band that leaves me wondering and curious and keen for more.
Oversized balloons are being set up around the drum kit as diehard Hungry Kids Of Hungary fans squish as close to the stage as possible. The band is just two shows into their ‘Let You Down Easy‘ headline tour that will take them around the country. Tonight’s hometown heroes step up to the mic and rip straight into their set, wide smiles slapped across their faces. Dean leads his band mates through crowd-pleasers like Set It Right, Scattered Diamonds and All You Need to Know. The tour’s namesake ‘Let You Down’ is the new single and it’s a cracker. Musically – they’re tight. Performance wise – they’re energetic, present and genuine. Plus their tunes have that all important sing-along-ability. Dean induces a raucous response when he predicts that this will be the best show of the tour, without a doubt. The encore is perhaps the highlight of the night. They start playing something that sounds oh-so familiar. Everyone has that ‘I know this song but I can’t put my finger on it’ look on their face. Slowly, entertainingly, I watch as light bulbs come on and everyone realises that the Hungry Kids of Hungary are covering an unlikely hit. It’s MIA’s Paper Planes and it’s sending us into a frenzy. Because they can’t bear to stop the good times rollin’ on, the Kids give us one more treat, aptly, it’s the Good Times.