Tank & the Bangas have gone viral, and they have NPR to thank. Though the New Orleans band only has one album under their wings, the independently-released 2013 album Think Tank, a coveted spot in NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series catapulted them to Internet fame. As the winners of the 2017 Tiny Desk Contest, a nationwide talent search for the best band that hasn’t broken through yet, their Tiny Desk Concert has been viewed more than 1.5 million times and counting. DC was quick to snap up what precious few tickets were available once Songbyrd announced the band’s concert. And amongst all the hype surrounding the band, their stellar performance made them some new fans that have reason to be very excited about the band’s bright future.
As it turned out, the hype was real. Lead vocalist Tarriona “Tank” Ball was a wrecking ball of energy and emotion on stage in everything she did - her moves (including dancing around Songbyrd’s prominent on-stage pole and throwing in a twerk or two), her voice (ranging from infant-like inflection to full-bodied roars), and her back-and-forths with the band (especially with co-vocalist Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph). The band got the crowd moving with Tiny Desk Concert favorite “Quick” and even covers of Anderson.Paak’s “Come Down” and OutKast’s “Hey Ya.” But if there was one song that drives home why the band will have staying power, it was the band’s performance of “Rollercoaster.” The extended live version of the song added some very wistful flutes and an even more powerful spoken word delivery from Ball. She left the crowd entranced throughout, as if Ball was speaking directly from her heart to theirs. If there was ever a band whose future never looked brighter, even on an intimate and sweaty stage, it would be Tank & the Bangas. Now that the hype train is rolling and the general public are finally getting a taste of their manic and passionate live show, there’s no doubt that they’ll be packing even larger venues very soon.
Opening for Tank & the Bangas were their fellow New Orleans-based band Sweet Crude. The band’s Cajun-flavored indie-pop songs (sung in both English and Louisiana French) were a very pleasant surprise, especially vocalist/percussionist Alexis Marceaux’s infectious energy. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to compare them to early Arcade Fire with a hint of Dr. John. Their latest release Créatures is out now through Rhyme and Reason Records.