With Sydney’s nightlife and arts community severely depleted in recent years on the back of a government seemingly going out of their way to deny any support to the community, one of Sydney’s more famed venues reopened its doors to a packed band room upstairs, and a bustling bar and bistro downstairs. Back after a couple years of renovations and new owners, The Lansdowne turned it on with an all-star band made up of local stars warming a chilly Sydney Thursday night.
With the downstairs bistro and main bar packed out, you came to expect there to be a few teething problems with lines and lack of direction regarding buying tickets. Letting these slide, there was plenty of seating available for those looking to have a feed or drink. Heading upstairs for the main gig of the night, you’re greeted by a rectangular room reminiscent in feel to that of the Newtown Social Club (RIP). With a small annex out the back of the band room for those looking to have a sit down, the room was cosy yet felt comfortable.
As the main act of the night entered the stage just after 930, the motley crew of Sydney artists proceeded to smash through a set of covers. Going under the moniker ‘A Band’, members of The Delta Riggs, The Preatures, Sticky Fingers and DMA’s were joined by vocalists Hayley Mary, Gideon Benson, Tony Hughes and Jordan Sly.
While much of the set came from classics from the 1960’s and 70’s, the definite standouts from the night were both from The Band. A mid-set classic was “The Weight”, with Hayley Mary on vocals. It was glorious as the crowd finally got a chance to have a proper sing-a-long with the band on stage. I’m a huge fan of bands that include horns in their set, so the use of a brass section was definitely a welcome sight.
Closing out the night on another The Band classic, “I Shall Be Released”, you felt the set wasn’t so much for the fans or even the band on stage. The night itself was more about the reawakening of a classic Sydney nightspot. While there’s definitely plenty of room for growth within the re-imagined venue, at the heart of it all is the drive to create a live space for bands. And if the set from Thursday night is anything to go by, The Lansdowne will be a venue for many a band to hit their straps in for a while to come.
This performance took place on the venue’s (re)opening night on 15th June 2017.