Live Review: Ball Park Music, Blame Ringo, Tin Can Radio @ The Zoo, Brisbane 21 May 2010

Review: Ben Connolly

  Eclecticism is a menu item at The Zoo for a dreary winter’s night as Ball Park Music launch yet another release. The eclecticism takes a great leap into the abyss of craziness straight up, however, with first band Tin Can Radio’s everything-and-the-kitchen-sink ethos. It’s genre mash-up pulled off almost to perfection, with elements of hip hop and dancehall melded with solid parts of rocking goodness. Instrument swapping and crowd-hyping antics sit comfortably along side

some serious head-banging and hair tossing, as they spend the first half of their short set sadly failing to entice the seemingly shy early crowd from getting down the front and dancing. The lack of response, however, failed to dent lead man Tom Wearne’s enthusiasm as he led his gang through numerous tension building jams and almost orgasmic rhythmic releases. His persistence finally paid off as, almost as one, the crowd came to life mid-set with new song Hot Trash and old favourite And Then Nothing filled the little dance floor with gyrating hips and floppy-haired bops. Ending with a shambolic number which showed the sheer joy of just barely keeping it together, TCR proved again how much of a delicious little secret this scene has been hiding.

Eclecticism often presents itself as an enigma and there are perhaps none as enigmatic than Blame Ringo at the moment. Piss-take is high on the agenda – heck, the band name is taken from a rapidly tiring jibe directed at Ringo Starr and his seemingly over-zealous lawyers – but it doesn’t detract from the spoils of 3-part harmonies and well developed song-writing. Bassist and vocalist Jessiah Cocks draws on his burgeoning solo singer-songwriter chops in the deep and melodic Garble Arch, which slumps a little in tonight’s set as they try to maintain the up vibe set by the stage openers. Lulls were quickly glossed over, though, as once again the floor responds positively to persistence with the poppy Polish Bride. The extended jam of Cash In Jackson and the hooky new single At The In-Between capture what these four are capable of at their peak – solid forays into near perfect saccharine guitar pop.

Eclecticism has almost become a genre to its own in Brisbane indie circles lately. Far from the shoe-gazing moroseness or sweaty crunch once infecting the scene; a naive, almost juvenile energy has descended out of nowhere and it’s tickling the fancy of many Valley music fans. Tonight’s headliners, Ball Park Music, bubbled up through the mix about 4 years ago and have been plying their version of jangly twee pop to moderate success. With label-mates Hungry Kids of Hungary, they are firmly at the fore of this gorgeous, adorable, butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-their-mouths imagery which relies firmly on unabashed fun and frivolity from the band, which can’t help but spill over to the audience. Behind the eyelid fluttering cuteness and high-school charm lies a pithy view of modern society, however, and lead song Culture Vulture of The Year 2008 displays a biting imagery which belies the benign pop and sets the tone for another over-the-top performance. While this was a launch for their new EP Conquer The Town, Easy As Cake, an off-the wall cover jumped out of the box before any new songs – The Kinks’ All Day And All Of The Night – which goes some way in accentuating BPMs versatility and risk-taking style.

Eclecticism is often celebrated in strange ways by audience members, and tonight it seems to be with the impossibly complicated and never-ending chorus of sing-a-long tune Sea Strangers (I Don’t Really Know You), which closes the set proper and punctuates a show which was over way too soon. The set touched on some of their rollicking story-telling (The Ghost I Saw When I Was Dreaming), their heart-breakingly sweetness (All I Want) and their profound exuberance (new single iFly) all contributed to a formidable collection which proved their eclecticism is on the cusp of greatness.

Ball Park MusicBuy: Ball Park Music at iTunes

BALL PARK MUSIC “Conquer the Town, Easy as Cake” EP Launch @ The Zoo, Brisbane on the 21st May 2010
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Live Review and Gallery: Hungry Kids of Hungary @ The Zoo, Brisbane with Deep Sea Arcade and Ball Park Music – 14 November 2009
Interview: Ball Park Music bursting enthusiasm, album release and upcoming tour
Photo Gallery: Drawn From Bees + Only The Sea Slugs + Ball Park Music @ The Troubadour, Brisbane 26 June 2009