Live Review: Ava Mendoza

20 January 2015 | 10:09 am | Imogen Elliot

Mendoza took the MONA FOMA audience towards the future.

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After watching Ava Mendoza play you can be forgiven for being lost for words.

The New York-based musician’s avant-garde guitar playing can change from jazz to funk and from blues to rock within bars, and when combined with her ‘90s punk style vocals it becomes difficult to do little else but stand and observe, in awe.

Performing last night with Hobart-based musicians Hamish Houston (bass) and Alf Jackson (drums) at Princes Wharf 1, Mendoza moulded a number of traditional playing styles into a collection of semi-improvised songs built from her albums, 2013’s Unnatural Ways and 2010’s Shadow Stories. Her eclectic sound made it fitting that she was chosen as MONA FOMA’s Artist in Residence this year as she perfectly exhibited the way diversity in art can be create a harmonious whole, much like the festival itself.

Mendoza treated fans to a free open rehearsal earlier in the day and provided them with a chance to watch the vibe build between her usually soloist self and her two temporary band mates. Although new to each other the trio performed together with ease and in the final performance shared few communicative glances alluding to progression changes during songs. Each musician was highly skilled, passionate and open to working as a group to create an enjoyable and inspiring performance.

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It’s difficult to place worth on a product that sits so within its own bracket as Mendoza’s, but that’s what makes her style so worthy. Much like other artists on the bill at MOFO, Mendoza took the audience towards the future instead of living up to standards of the past.