There are dozens of words to describe the shape-shifting sonics of Tank the Bangas, but if we have to whittle down the descriptors, here are our choices: Charming, charismatic, soul-uplifting, and downright funky.
Out of 6,000 entrees, the New Orleans band unanimously won over the range of judges overseeing NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest. The band — led by Tarriona Tank Ball and Jelly Joseph on vocals; backed by Merell Burkett Jr. and Norman Spence II on keys; Joshua Johnson on drums; Jonathan Johnson on bass; Albert Allenback on saxophone — and the audience thrive off joyful exchanges, seamlessly switching gears from spirited funk, laid-back jazz, soulful blues, and playful spoken-word delivery.
Surprise isthe essence of the Bangas’ sound and storytelling, with Tank unafraid to spell everything out with idiosyncratic flair and humor to captivate her audience. The contest-winning “Quick,” for example, is a modern-day revenge tale involving liquor, quick cash, and a slip of the wrist with no telling who’s going to come out on top. The interplay between Tank and Jelly is infectious, and though the backing band provides the girls their platform, not once do its players ever fade into the background.