There's an inimitable magic in a live gig that livestreamed concerts – no matter how global or star-studded – will ever be able to touch. As capacity restrictions ease for larger venues in Sydney, the Vanguard in Newtown and Lazybones in Marrickville are already hosting small, live music concerts – and now, Chippendale's the Lansdowne is following suit, with its first live gig taking place on Friday, June 19.
The Lansdowne has been a mainstay of Sydney's local live music scene for years, and was key to nurturing the the careers of musicians in that nebulous middleground of their careers: when they had started to gain some notoriety, but weren't yet booking out venues like the Enmore Theatre. Before they were household names, The Preatures and The Living End performed on the Lansdowne's hallowed stages. Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham, owners of Mary's, Newtown's renowned burger and beer joint, took over the institution in 2017 – and in May, opened up the newest Mary's outpost on the rooftop of the hotel.
First on the Lansdowne's lineup is Caitlin Harnett and the Pony Boys on June 19, with doors for an early show at 6.30pm and a later one kicking off at 9.30pm. Next week, Papa Pinko and the Binrats will take the stage on June 26, with doors at the same times as the previous week. Both events will be seated and will have a maximum capacity of 50 people to allow for social distancing to be practised in the venue.
Sydney's music scene has a long way to go to recover from the impacts of lockdowns, but it's an encouraging sign to see much-loved local venues first off the rank to whet the city's appetite for live gigs once more.