Tank and The Bangas: ‘A frenzied assault on the senses’

Tahoe Onstage
Tarriona “Tank” Ball leads the seven-piece neo-hip-hop group Tank and The Bangas at the High Sierra Music Festival in 2017.
If you see a green balloon hovering over Crystal Bay on Sunday, don’t fret — it probably means the soulful Tank and The Bangas are ready to strike up the band. Tank and The Bangas, an energetic neo hip-hop band from New Orleans, debuts in the Crystal Bay Casino Crown Room at 8 p.m. Sunday as part of its Green Balloon tour. Tickets are $23 in advance or $25 at the door, which opens at 7 p.m. Guests must be 21 or older. Mojo Green plays the Red Room after-party. Following their Tiny Desk Contest victory in 2017, Tank and The Bangas took to extensive touring and honing their live performance to the bombastic whirlwind that it is. They released their “Green Balloon” album this spring. Fronted by tenacious frontwoman Tarriona “Tank” Ball, the group maneuvered its way through an animated set and kicked off the 27th annual High Sierra Music Festival in 2017 with a frenzied assault on the senses. Here’s a look back at that performance by Tahoe Onstage writer Spencer Kilpatrick: While many groups would have felt slighted at being assigned the very opening slot of a four-day festival, the New Orleans-based septet relished the opportunity and used it to captivate the minds, bodies, and spirits of everyone at the Vaudeville Tent. Highlights of the set included “Quick” the song that won them the NPR competition, “Boxes and Squares” a laid back rhodes-driven take on a love that could have been, and an aggressively dynamic cover of Anderson Paak’s “Come Down,”  which featured off-kilter verses and a 2-ton chorus that rounded up the crowd in a collective “oh shit” moment. These highlights, though, weren’t stand-alone songs as much as they were pit stops in an amorphous set that ebbed and flowed with the audience. The songs often felt like skits that were one part masterful crowd work and three parts inventive songwriting. Backing vocalist Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph was magnetic as Ball’s sidekick. Together, the two women reinvented the rapper/hype-man dynamic (imagine if Busta Rhymes and Spliff Star grew up as theater kids) and commanded the stage from the first song, their energy immediately contagious. The band was rounded out with two keyboardists, Norman Spence and Merell Burkett, who were responsible for the show’s rich soundscape, Albert Allenback on alto sax/flute/headbanging, bassist Jonathan Johnson, and drummer/musical director Joshua Johnson. The band compares its components to a tasty Louisiana gumbo. “If you’re from New Orleans, you know all the ingredients to make a good gumbo. Your seasonings have to mix well, your roux has to be thick, and your meat has to be cut to perfection. Tank and The Bangas are what you call a great gumbo!”
  • Tank and The Bangas When: 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29 Where: Crystal Bay Casino Crown Room Tickets: $23 in advance or $25 on the day of the show Red Room after-party: Mojo Green

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Tahoe Onstage is an online entertainment and sports magazine covering Lake Tahoe, Truckee, Reno, the Carson Valley and June Lake.

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