The Diverse Ear: I Took A Trip To Bangaville

Tank and The Bangas music is a combination of funk, soul, and spoken word. The group is headed by Tarionna “Tank” Ball and she is a bit of a firecracker.

At first listen I was a little unsure if I was going to like them because they were really quirky and it was kind of abrasive at first, but they grew on me, a lot.

I was browsing YouTube one day, and I saw a video that said “NPR Tiny Desk Concert: Tank and The Bangas”. Of course every Tiny Desk concert is amazing, so I clicked. Tank and The Bangas in that moment became one of my favorite things.

Fast forward five months and Tank and The Banga’s were played my city, and I had to be there front and center. The band made an appearance June 16 at Spacebar located in the North Campus district in Columbus, Ohio.

Spacebar is a smaller hole in the wall venue that holds about 60 to 70 people, standing room only. I was actually pretty shocked that they played such small limited venue, considering that their Tiny Desk video went viral. Their show sold out four months ahead of time.

The show was opened by local act Counterfeit Madison, who really set the tone for an energetic show. She and her four piece band were electric, performing head banging songs about free-spiritedness and independence.

Counterfeit Madison

She played the piano to start the set, and let me tell you, when she gets into the keys she closes her eyes and she just shakes. Being in the very front and seeing it first hand was a sight to see. I could feel her energy. She got so into it that she grabbed the mic stand and marched into the audience, almost throwing the piano out of her way. It crashed to the ground and when she returned to the stage, she realized she had broken it.

She expressed to the crowd that her band was not used to playing without a keyboard player, but she said “there is a first time for everything”. They played on without her on the keys, and in my opinion it allowed her to have much more freedom, and move about the crowd.

Her band improvised very well, in fact, I didn’t even notice that the keys were missing. The crowd loved her, and they were singing along to her songs, and giving her so much energy. I figured some of them came mainly for her. She ended her set gracefully, letting us know that we were in for a treat.

When Tanks and The Bangas started to set up on stage the crowd began to gather. The drummer, Joshua Johnson, did a quick drum solo and they started to play a building intro, and the crowds anxiety was building.

In came Tank, and supporting vocalist, Jelly, and they dived right into their popular song, “Quick”, a banging song that tells the story of how a prostitute that gets caught up with the wrong John, and is forced to make some Quick decisions.

Tank and The Bangas

Throughout the night they played a slew of originals and covers, like “Redbone” by Childish Gambino, and “Come Down” by Anderson .Paak, which they absolutely murdered.

There is nothing like New Orleans soul.

Tank and The Bangas play with such a passion, that only comes from the struggle. They have worked very hard to get where they are, and this is just the beginning for them. The show was hands down one of the best shows that I have ever attended, they gave their everything and the crowd reciprocated.

Tank is an anomaly, and is so easy to fall in love with!

The band is top notch with Joshua Johnson as the musical director and drummer, Norman Spence on synths, Jonathan Johnson on bass, Merell Burkett on keys, Albert Allenbeck on sax and flute, and Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph on supporting vocals. Next time around I expect them to sell out a bigger venue, like Express LIVE!. They gave our city the title for “Most Humid Club,” and knowing Ohio weather, I don’t blame them.

Do yourself a favor, and go experience Tank and The Bangas, live.

Check out The Diverse Ear every Tuesday on The Indie Sound.

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