Live music is back in town, giving musicians a chance to get back on their feet and pub-goers a soundtrack for the return to normal. It has been an unprecedented few months for the music industry, with COVID-19 putting a temporary stop to live music. But West Australians are finally able to dust off their dancing shoes as live gigs begin to be rebooked. Local musicians have started playing at pubs around Albany, with Geoff “Rev” Waldeck delighted to finally play another set at Six Degrees on Sunday. The White Star Hotel will relaunch its Open Mic Night this Thursday. The Albany Entertainment Centre, meanwhile, has reopened with its Harbourside Concert series. Alchemy Art Quartet and Julia Watson will play for the series this Thursday. Originally from Albany, Ms Watson said it felt great to be back on stage in her home city after being forced to cancel shows. “While our industry came to a grinding halt almost overnight, in many ways it feels quite natural to be coming back to perform,” she said. “There was some solace, as musicians, to have time to rest and to practice and be a little more introspective. “The COVID-19 time has been interesting, because on the one hand we have this great acknowledgement by our society of the value and necessity of the arts and music to bring solace in times of difficulty — and on the other hand we have the reality of a completely decimated industry.” During the restricted period, Ms Watson played one online gig as part of a quartet with Perth Symphony Orchestra's Women on the Podium conductor mentorship program. There were several postponements, including the launch of Perth Tango Orchestra and the Perth Symphony Orchestra’s Mozart by Candlelight regional tour. Some of her own projects, such as a performance in Istanbul and a Baroque improvisation course in Italy, also had to be postponed. Ms Watson said even with the shorter lockdown period compared to other parts of the world, she believed Australia’s arts sector would suffer for some time to come if it did not receive more help. “I sincerely hope we will not see a loss of many of the fantastic arts organisations and individuals across our country,” she said.