Sweaty armpits. Everyone smells bad. Bag thumping against me as I jump and accidentally step on someone else’s foot too many times. Trash everywhere on the floor. Someone smokes weed in front of me and I’m impressed they got it through security. Sweaty forehead imprisoned by my bangs. I need to pee so badly it hurts to jump, but I have to jump because it’s the last song and everyone is shout-singing I FUCKING LOVE YOU, I THINK YOU’RE PRETTY and it’s so good I could burst, oh my god.
In year nine I listened to a lot of music from the 1960s for some reason; it kind of marks the point when my whole personality transformed, though to what extent the Beatles and Bob Dylan stimulated that change of self is still up for debate. Anyway, I felt very superior with my sophisticated taste in music, so much better than the trash pop all my peers were listening to.
I was a bit of a cunt.
My best friend and I at this time loved making mixed CDs for each other. Of course mine were full of classic rock bangers that your cool grandma used to listen to, and hers consisted of indie and alternative bands I was unfamiliar with. I was sceptical, and a lot of it I dismissed, except one band that I immediately became in love with: Ball Park Music.
On Friday night, I saw them for the first time at the Forum as part of their Exactly How You Are tour. The whole day I wasn’t particularly hyped for it; it was going to be a late night and I started work at 6 a.m. the next morning. R.I.P. My friend – a different friend (despite what my brother says, I do have more than one friend) – was overwhelmingly excited, though, and she had only been listening to them for a few months. Her enthusiasm was infectious, and for good reason. The concert was fucking sick.
I’d had a ridiculously-average-bordering-shitty week dealing with a multitude of tedious crap and dumb emotions, and Ball Park Music was the best band to see at that point. Seeing them before me and shout-singing their lyrics, I remembered why I love them so unconditionally. Their music is weird, the words don’t often make sense, but it doesn’t matter because it all works.
Good Mood is the perfect title for their new album, because their music is a good fucking mood. Some of their songs are sad and not as upbeat, but in general their music is primarily feel-good. They recognise that people don’t always feel amazing, that things don’t always work out, but they don’t linger on the shittiness of those feelings and focus instead on getting through it all. A song that comes to mind is one from their first album, It’s Nice to be Alive. Frontman Sam Cromack played an acoustic rendition of this to a sold-out crowd all singing with him in unison; not just the chorus but the whole fucking song, because we all know it and we all froth it.
Don’t stress, that’s dumb
I’m here, and it’s nice to be alive
Chill out, it’s all right
Kiss me, it’s nice to be alive.
Sam, who had a chest infection and told us how heartbroken he was that he couldn’t perform at his best (but was still completely amazing and I wouldn’t have noticed at all), became visibly emotional during this song. I love that. I love when you can see how much fans mean to artists. I saw Paul McCartney in December and it was two of the best nights of my life (because of course I went to both shows), but it didn’t feel as intimate as Ball Park Music, probably because it was at AAMI Park and he looked like an ant onstage. But there was no point when Paul became visibly emotional (though I sure as shit was). This is most likely because Paul has been performing to adoring and obsessive crowds for more than fifty years, and he stills obviously fucking loves it and loves his fans because he blessed us with A THREE-HOUR SET OF BEAUTIFUL ARTISTIC GENIUS. But he’s seen it all. He’s not going to choke up singing Yesterday because he’s been singing it since he had a damn mop-top.
They played Exactly How You Are last, before their encore, and my friend and I clung to each other while jumping throughout the entire song, scream-singing I LOVE YOU EXACTLY HOW YOU ARE to each other. The moment was so wholesome and pure and my heart was so full of love and contentment.
For an instant GOOD MOOD, hit these songs up:
Great Display Of Patience
It’s Nice To Be Alive
Everything Is Shit Except My Friendship With You
Exactly How You Are
All I Want Is You
I Am So In Love With You