by Ayanna Jacobs-El
The genre-bending New Orleans band Tank and The Bangas are currently on their first international tour since unanimously winning this year’s NPR Tiny Desk Contest. Last Thursday, they performed a sold-out show at The Sinclair, a 525 person capacity venue. After winning the Tiny Desk Contest, the band went viral, especially with their song “Quick” which gave listeners a sense of their fun and eclectic sound and introduced them to the animated and extremely likable and talented lead singer, rapper, and poet Tarriona “Tank” Ball. The group is comprised of Tarriona (lead vocals), Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph (background vocals), Merell Burkett Jr. (keys), Norman Spence II (keys), Joshua Johnson (drums), Jonathan Johnson (bass), and Albert Allenback (saxophone, flute).
The opener for The Bangas was another New Orleans group called Sweet Crude. The six-piece, indie-pop band’s music, and performance shared a lot of similarities to the Bangas from having amazing stage presence, catchy, upbeat songs in varying genres, and also featuring yet another killer female lead vocalist. One cool thing about Sweet Crude was that they sang in both English and the French dialect native to Louisiana.They made sure to get the audience as excited as possible for the headlining band and even got the audience involved by getting us to sing along in French to their closing song.
When it came time for Tank and The Bangas to take the stage the audience was all abuzz with anticipation. The instrumentalists came out first and showed off their modern jazz and rock chops on a high-intensity intro. Midway through the intro, Tank and Jelly made their way to the stage and were welcomed by massive applause and hollers. Their second song was their hit “Quick” and pretty much everyone in the audience knew all the words and sang along. It was astounding just how in synch the band was both musically and emotionally. The way the members interacted with each other was genuine, organic, and I could tell they all were having the time of their lives.
Throughout their set, they took the audience on a rollercoaster ride of genres (R&B, hip-hop, Trap, Pop, Rock, funk, and jazz), emotions, and didn’t hesitate to showcase each one of the members immense talent. I think Tank could be an actress or definitely do musical theatre because she was able to change her demeanor, vocal quality, and even movements at a drop of a hat to match the nature of the songs perfectly.
The set was peppered with songs the audience knew like “Rollercoasters” and “Boxes and Squares” but a large amount of the songs were new and even though they were unknown to the audience, everyone was feeling them just as much as the well-known ones. A particularly fun part of the set was during an indie rock song that incorporated the audience chanting “Hey, hey, hey!” In the middle of the song, Tank got the audience to follow her dance moves and at one point had the whole venue and band go as low as they could to the ground.
Interspersed throughout the songs were also moments that Tank delivered meaningful poems that came straight from the soul. Towards the end of the show, Tank delivered a heartfelt poem dedicated to the audience about how we all are all special and have a purpose and she expressed her immense love and appreciation for the audience. It was definitely a touching moment and when I was leaving the venue I could see some of the audience members in happy tears from her sincere message.
I think bands should definitely be taking notes from Tank and The Bangas. I believe they will be around for a very long time and continue to make music that will sell out shows around the world. They have a sound, message, stage presence, talent, and musicians that make them a force that will appeal to many while making them unique enough that they can’t be compared to anyone else.
DID YOU SEE TANK AND THE BANGAS ON THEIR TOUR OR ARE YOU GOING TO? LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THOUGHT ABOUT THE SHOW OR WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO IN THE COMMENTS!