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Review: Ball Park Music & Spacey Jane @ Summer Sounds Festival (Adelaide)

Live music lovers are always seeking the perfect moment, where all the elements come together to set you on fire and spread a grin across your face. Last night (28 February), Ball Park Music created just that – and I’m still beaming.

Early starts at Summer Sounds Festival (Bonython Park / Tulya Wodli – Adelaide) seem to be the standard. It’s a nice feeling. Turning up in daylight, with minimal line-up, friendly crew and a dedicated pod waiting for you and your friends.

We arrived as 2020 South Australian Music Award winner for best Solo Artist, Jess Day was finishing her set with award-winning song ‘Affection’. Jess and her band had clearly got the audience warmed up and ready for a night of pop perfection.

Festival organisers had a huge win planning the line-up for the night, pairing Spacey Jane with Ball Park Music to play just days after both rated in the top 5 of triple j’s Hottest 100 countdown, with Spacey Jane taking out the highest Australian song at number two with ‘Booster Seat’.

So when Spacey Jane entered the stage with an AC/DC riff announcing their arrival, flowing quickly into the opening notes of ‘Skin’, the crowd were up on their feet and shouting.

The band was clearly having a great night, happy to be out of WA for the first time in nearly a year. Frontman Caleb was in his element, bouncing and dancing while playing guitar.

Ashton on lead guitar was giving it his all, jumping and spinning with long hair flowing, while bassist Peppa switched between dancing and singing pitch-perfect harmonies, with Kieran keeping the energy high throughout on drums.

The set list covered songs from new album ‘Sunlight’, with jumping beat of ‘Weightless’ a clear crowd favourite, along with plenty of early release singles, including ‘Thrills’ and ‘Feeding The Family’.

From the beginning riffs to finale ‘Booster Seat’, which unsurprisingly prompted the biggest sing-along of the set, Spacey Jane maintained their upbeat vibe and kept the audience dancing.

When Brisbane five-piece Ball Park Music came on stage, kicking straight into ‘Head Like A Sieve’ from their latest self-titled album and quickly moving into manic hurdy gurdy of ‘Fence Sitter’, the crowd were immediately up and jumping.

‘Everything Is Sh.t Except My Friendship With You’ was dedicated to the crowd, flowing easily into the beautiful harmonies of ‘Surrender’.

Next, ‘The Perfect Life Does Not Exist’ was played for local live music venue, Jive, home to some of the band’s early shows.

Ball Park Music tripped easily through a set list that dipped deep into old favourites along with new releases.

Playing with a cool choral effect on Jennifer Boyce’s back-up vocals for ‘Day And Age’, droning guitar power on ‘Nihilist Party Anthem’, wailing riffs and cool synths on ‘Tripping The Light Fantastic’, through to the swampy, gut-punching blues-rock of ‘Struggle Street’ – the band treated the audience to a master-class in changing energy and pace without losing momentum.

Instrumentally, Ball Park Music are on-point no matter what they play, with the experience to mess around with their songs while maintaining familiarity and taking the crowd on the journey with them. And a healthy sprinkling of la la la’s, oohs and ahhs doesn’t hurt to get everyone in on the action.

Frontman Sam Cromack is a joy to watch and hear. His impressive vocal range hits everything from choral beauty to rocking growls, and in between songs he chats warmly with the crowd creating a great atmosphere.

The main set ended with the glorious joy of ‘I Love You Exactly The Way You Are’ and the slow build of ‘Spark Up’, before we were told to “sing it with me you sick f…ers”, joining Cromack in the desperate strains of ‘Sick Rude Future Dude’.

As the song wrapped up the crowd were wolf-whistling and beating the signs hung on the side of the pods, demanding more. And Ball Park Music delivered.

Stretching our already beaming smiles with the feel-good vibe of ‘It’s Nice To Be Alive’. Then, a change in the atmosphere, focusing attention on Cromack with a blue-lit stage as the first notes of ‘She Only Loves Me When I’m There’ swept through the festival slowly and reverently before ramping up to as the song grew and grew.

Final song ‘Cherub’ was even more beautiful live on stage than could be imagined, lifting us up and filling our hearts.

While everyone didn’t want it to end, we left happy that we’d just experienced a night of pure joy that filled our empty festival cups to overflowing.


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