Musicians and fans of the local live music scene have reflected on the long journey back to gigs (in a COVID safe way), and they couldn’t be happier.
Singer and guitarist Liam Dalby was among the first to return to performing post COVID lock-down and restrictions thanks to an Albury venue that was prepared to test the waters.
“I don’t think people realised what they had until it was gone,” Liam said.
“We take for granted a lot of these things that the local venues provide and artists do, and when the music was gone, it left a big hole.”
One of the first venues to hire Liam back for live music was Beer Deluxe Albury in September.
“That first gig I left nothing in the tank and people just ate it up,” Liam said.
“People were great, they were ushered to seats, they sat down and the security was great. People were cheering in their seats and very appreciative. I sang my little heart out just to say thank you to the staff and management of Beer Deluxe for not giving up on us.
“When I finished the night I could hardly talk. My fingers were hurting because I hadn’t played guitar for six months, I was covered in sweat, but I loved every minute of it. Once we got the ball rolling it paved the way for other artists and other venues to get back into performing again.”
Venues have shown creativity in adapting to limitations for the return of live music, including at the SS&A, which recently welcomed Liam back as a support act to the Whitlam’s Tim Freedman.
“It was an acoustic performance and it was set up in the auditorium, with limited numbers and seating set up in a horseshoe shape around a small stage in the centre of the dance floor,” Liam explained.
“It was such a different, intimate performance – you could hear a pin drop. Usually when you perform there are people talking at the bar and having a laugh in the background, but this crowd was patiently waiting and hanging on every moment and every note.
“It’s almost a silver lining to this whole COVID social distancing thing, that people really are appreciating the music, clapping and cheering and really enjoying what’s going on.”
Liam is excited that Albury CBD venues are committed to restoring live music for locals and the influx of visitors over summer
“Albury really does offer a variety of music, artists and venues from wine rooms to nightclubs, to pubs and clubs, there’s so much here,” Liam said.
“The border opening couldn’t have happened at a better time in the lead up to Christmas with a big influx of people coming home or holidaying – the catch ups, the parties, all those things we long for at Christmas and over summer.
“We’ve felt so disconnected and now it’s slowly easing to a point where we can get back together and feel more like a community again.”