Exuberant ‘Bad Ideas: The Experience’ livestream shows what Tessa Violet is capable of

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Postponed by the pandemic, Tessa Violet’s Bad Ideas tour slipped through her fingers last year, but now the alternative pop star is taking matters into her own hands.

Bringing her debut album to life, Violet’s prerecorded concert livestream “Bad Ideas: The Experience” streamed May 12-13 on Moment House and featured a live after-party with the artist. One hour of pure energy and blossoming creativity, the livestream took her audience within the lovesick dreamworld that is Bad Ideas.

The livestream began in a rather relaxed and informal style similar to that of a YouTube video, opening with Violet seated in a bedroom wearing a sweatshirt. The chat bubbling over with excitement from fans, Violet enthusiastically welcomed her distant audience before performing an acoustic version of “Prelude” while playing guitar.

Immediately after “Prelude,” the livestream took a dramatic turn. White light streamed in from beneath the door behind her, and opening the door in a trance, Violet wandered onto a wide white stage in wonder. Now shot cinematically rather than vlog-style, the camera swirled around to reveal the expanse of the spacious stage, revealing Violet in a sparkling gold bodysuit.

Moving center stage, the artist joined two band members and four backup dancers to give an upbeat performance of her poppy song “I Like (the idea of) You.” The show, in contrast to being filmed in one long seamless shot, faded from one performance into another. Each individualized performance felt like its very own music video, thoughtfully edited to enliven Violet’s vision for every song’s particular style.

Dynamic overhead shots added a new perspective to her title track performance, and fog flooded the stage during “Haze.” Although every performance was distinct, the entirety of the livestream took advantage of a clean, minimalist aesthetic. Often surrounded by blank walls and a few retro props, Violet remained the center of attention as she rotated among several different sets.

Her moving performance of “Words Ain’t Enough” was a rare exception to this rule, the camera turning its focus away from Violet to focus on two dancers. Tinged with sadness, their beautifully intimate contemporary sequence was characterized by inceptive closeness and conclusive distance. The desaturated set for this presentation was especially lovely, marked by muted colors and earthy tones.

Tastefully coordinated with her sets’ varying color palettes, Violet’s frequent and fabulous costume changes helped maintain intrigue — almost every performance featured a new, stunning costume. During her performance of “Haze,” Violet wore a massive white rose headdress, silky ivory dress and light-up shoes. For “Bad Ideas,” she donned a pastel pink dress with a massive bow in contrast to her stage’s pale greenish background, and later, she stunned in a shimmering sequin green dress for “Words Ain’t Enough.”

“Words Ain’t Enough” transitioned into “Interlude III,” illuminating Violet’s vulnerability with a single intense spotlight. Noticeably, it was her only performance of the night with no one else in sight, and her piercing sorrow swelled to fill the empty room.

Similarly gentle but a bit more lighthearted, Violet later surprised her audience with “Smoke Signals,” her soothing collaboration with Cavetown. A static-filled television beside her flickered to show hazy footage from the track’s serene music video.

Violet rocked out on the electric guitar with a dramatic rendition of “Wishful Drinking,” fading out with an intense instrumental transition, and later, red and blue lights brightened her upbeat performance of “Games.” Dynamic camera angles enhanced both well-edited performances, offering more close and creative shots of the singer.

Dressed in a bright orange jumpsuit, Violet chose to end the livestream with her snappy hit “Crush.” Flashes of stage lighting were neatly coordinated to the song’s signature, bouncy chiming instrumentals, and Violet’s backup dancers returned for an ebullient choreographed sequence. Confetti exploded as a final celebratory burst of energy, and the show’s credits rolled to the “Crush (Le Youth Remix).”

Though her album might be called Bad Ideas, this livestream proved that Violet’s designs are nothing short of brilliant.

Contact Taila Lee at [email protected].