Modern Baseball @ Oxford Art Factory

Nothing worthwhile doing comes without challenges: a sentiment that rings true for US indie rockers Modern Baseball. The past five years have seen the band steadily grow from a bunch of musical misfits in Philadelphia to the internationally known emo outfit they are today, but it hasn’t been easy. Aside from the often draining nature of producing deeply personal music and dealing with the tolls of touring, the four-piece also faced a setback when mental health issues caused their first Australian tour to be cancelled mid last year. After a short hiatus, a new string of highly-anticipated shows were announced, which brings us to last night’s gig in Sydney. Reinforced by hundreds of like-minded fans coming together, Modern Baseball’s tour serves as a celebration of where life can take you and what can come from dedicating yourself to what you love.

Oxford Art Factory’s atmosphere was one fairly reminiscent of your classic college party; drinks flowed, pre-set Violent Soho jams were aplenty, and new friendships were forming in every corner of the room. As soon as Modern Baseball walked out and shyly thanked everyone for coming, it was easy to see how their music is a direct product of who they really are. Every quirky facet scattered through Sports is replicated in their stage presence, from Ian’s full body grooving to Brendan’s humble banter. They also graciously dealt with a range of deafening chants related to one beloved Australian pastime that was being forced upon them: the shoey.

Like a well-oiled machine, the band pumped out hit after hit starting with Fine, Great and flowing intoBroken Cash Machine, Tears Over Beers and Apartment. Modern Baseball’s incredible onstage energy only amped fans up more, resulting in waves of crowd surfers and a constant head bob for the next hour. For the most part, the set consisted of songs from their 2014 full-length You’re Gonna Miss It All but didn’t forget to include a few gems from Sports (2012) and The Perfect Cast EP (2015). Your Graduation was met with an emotional crowd sing-a-long, and an encore of The Thrash Particle paired with The Weekend was a heartfelt way to end the night.

Modern Baseball have an impressive way of taking ordinary stories and moulding them into songs that can be heard, but more importantly felt, by a wide group of people. Their smart lyrics and catchy hooks have a cathartic quality about them that breaks free of any gender/age confinements, and Oxford Art Factory’s show proved that from the diverse range of people standing in the mosh as one. It’s been quite a journey for the Philly band to make it half way around the world to Australia but if this show was anything to go by, we’ll be seeing them again very soon.

Modern Baseball recently released a mini-documentary called Tripping in the Dark outlining the band’s history and how Brendan sought out help for his struggles with Bipolar disorder. You can catch it on the band’s Facebook page, Run For Cover’s YouTube channel or stream it below!