The collection of talent that is the Tank and the Bangas is one of a kind, and this groovy group deserves more recognition for their fusion of soul, hip-hop, spoken word and jazz. Coming from New Orleans, Louisiana, Tank and the Bangas are a group of instrumentalists and vocalists who first met during an open mic show called Liberation Lounge at Blackstar Café and Books within the city of music in 2011. As a result, Tank and the Bangas was born and was founded by the soulful front singer, Tarriona “Tank” Ball.
Along with Tank, the group is made strong through the diverse individuals that are Josh Johnson on drums, Norman Spence on the electric keyboard, Jonathan Johnson on bass, Merell Burkett on keys, Albert Allenback on saxophone and flute, “Jelly” Joseph on supporting vocals, and Danny Abel. The group soon gained wide recognition after starring on a victorious, finger-snapping NPR session that led to the band signing to Universal with the Verve branch and soon after hitting the studio religiously to work on their major label debut. They complement each other despite their musical background and preferences, which explains the confusion when it comes to defining what genre they are.
The group wanted to steer away from the classic and traditional jazz sounds that New Orleans is popularly known for from the start. This reason in addition to the varied members of the group, is what led them to decide to go with a mixed variation of sounds. Tank and the Bangas are not experimental but instead take bits of each musical category to deliver a new spin on music. The styles mentioned earlier are solely some of the few tastes that this group brings to our ears. A few other additions to their sounds include blends of Gospel, Reggae and R&B. The sky is not the limit in this case for the dynamic group and challenges for them are always enjoyable even if it’s not as simple as it seems.
With tracks like “Eggs over Easy” that pour out reggae notes that will have you head bobbing, and their 2017 breakthrough hit single “Quick” that projects all the elements that the group possess, uniqueness is a quality that shines through each track. “Quick” is a snapping rhythmic based tune that demonstrates Tank’s realms between singer and storyteller. Their latest single “Spaceships”, released back in September, gives hard bumping bass notes and upbeat R&B melodies. Tank and the Bangas can turn the notches up as hard as a rock band, slip effortlessly into a funk-based number, and can switch the mood with a quiet R&B piece.
The band also brings the spiritual energy of their church background onto the stage when performing to a joyful secular audience. Bringing positive ambiances to any place they perform is a trait and mood that is a must for these guys and discrimination is definitely not allowed at any show. Their lyrics prove no less than that as well as their actions on stage. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Tank sums it up best by saying ‘I find it so cool to talk about things that connect everybody and go past race or boy or girl or anything”.
You can catch these cool cats on stage real soon with the upcoming 3rd-annual GroundUp Music Festival in February. A three-day long festival of amazing artists and bands that are sure to have you out of your seat and grooving the night away. It will be held at the North Beach Bandshell and will start off on February 8th and will go on until the 10th. Be sure to drop by and check out the Tank and the Bangas set because it’ll be a show you won’t want to miss. Grab tickets.
Photo by The Stranger.