Whenever an artist performs better live than their studio music sounds, it is almost immediately bound to be an entertaining show. Thankfully, Australian artist AViVA’s performance at Schubas Tavern, 3159 N. Southport Ave., outshone anything she made in studios. Otherwise, it would have been impossible to sit through.
Melodrama, overpowering tracks and boredom: these things stole the show away from anything positive AViVA did. Especially for the last show of her first American tour, the set was empty and lacked excitement.
While AViVA herself (and the musicians behind her) brought energy to the stage, it did not transfer to the crowd. Most of the audience did not seem to know why they were there, except for a handful of preteen girls dancing in the first few rows. Although at first glance it seemed the lack of stage decoration or technical issues could have caused the connection gap, those things ultimately did not affect the entire show. Truthfully, AViVA’s songs were filled with cliché symbolism, too much synth and childlike execution.
AViVA sounds like a mashup between Melanie Martinez, Halsey and Billie Eilish—all very successful women who offer more of an aesthetic than actually “good” music, and can be referred to more as industry plants than artists.
What all these artists have in common is that they are products of the music industry, which will overturn the same sounds and aesthetics until completely worn out. This shared style of edgy pop is on life support, and its family members reluctant to pull the plug. This is not to say that AViVA’s self-expression through her art is not valid, but it is simply not enjoyable to a wide array of people.
However, as previously mentioned, AViVA performs live astronomically better than on her recorded music. Yes, the tracks were unexpectedly overpowering (most artists as established as her should have someone play or mix tracks live), but she certainly knows her way around performing.
Her vocals were amazing and did not seem auto-tuned or drowned out by vocal tracks. She truly put on a character while on stage, which is always entertaining to watch—although with all the tracks behind her, it was questionable how much of it was actually live.
Ultimately, AViVA fell flat. Although she did not crash as hard as expected, there is nothing new about her music—nothing exciting. The clichés and melodramatic themes mixed with the simple, electronic music were dull and tiresome. It was a waste of time, and when she ended the set about 15 minutes early, it seemed as if she knew that, too.