The Guardian

Seated gigs, no moshing and 'brutally exhausting' sets: the strange new world of live music

It’s been a welcome return in some cities – but with bands pushing their bodies and bank accounts to the limit, are Covid-safe concerts sustainable?
Ball Park Music played 13 shows over seven days at the Triffid in Brisbane to pull the same sized crowd as they used to in a night. Photograph: Dave Kan

For live music fans in most Australian states, a long winter deprived of gigs broke a few months ago, as artists began taking strange and tentative steps back onto the stage.

But it’s a new normal for these concerts, and yet another uncanny valley of the post-Covid world: a social experience where we can’t socialise; a show where dancing, hugging and head-banging are essentially illegal. Sweaty dance floors and beer queues are out, replaced by parlour-style seating and severely reduced capacities, often resulting in artists performing multiple shows a night. Dinner and a show has, against all odds, become the norm again.

It’s a welcome return for the industry and venues, but a strange experience for

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