Tank and the Bangas

Spotlight Series: Tank and the Bangas

Following its electric summer performance at Levitt Los Angeles, New Orleans outfit Tank and the Bangas brings its distinctive fusion of spoken word, hip-hop and neo-soul to Levitt AMP Chattanooga tomorrow night wrapping up their 2017 concert series!

Any fan of NPR’s Tiny Desk concerts might already be familiar with this lively band. Chosen from over 6,600 submissions from all over the country, the band gained national recognition after unanimously winning the 2017 NPR Tiny Desk Contest. NPR’s All Things Considered host and contest judge Bob Boilen describes Tank and the Bangas’ sound as a combination of “R&B with hip-hop’s poetry and rollercoaster storytelling, with a flair and alchemy that could only come from New Orleans.”

Established in 2015, the Tiny Desk competition spotlights budding talent in the hopes of “finding a shining star”—previous winners, Fantastic Negrito and GaeLynn Lea, each went on to win a GRAMMY award and embark on an international tour after their performances. Tank and the Bangas’ vibrant energy has attracted fans nationwide (and more than 2.5 million views on their NPR video). It’s safe to say the group is on the same path to success, a journey several years in the making.

While the band’s popularity seems to have exploded virtually overnight, the members of Tank and the Bangas have been making waves since their formation in 2011. The members of Tank and the Bangas—Tarriona “Tank” Ball (vocals), Jelly Joseph (vocals), Merell Burkett Jr. (keys), Norman Spence II (keys), Joshua Johnson (drums), Jonathan Johnson (bass), and Albert Allenback (saxophone)—emerged out of the open-mic night scene at Liberation Lounge, a New Orleans venue that attracts a plethora of creative voices.

Ball has garnered attention as a vocalist and spoken word artist, attributing her seamless lyrical delivery to her experience with slam poetry. As an ensemble, the group has won over fans with its memorable festival performances, taking home the award for Offbeat magazine’s 2014 “Best Emerging Artist” and earning “Band of the Year” at the 2017 Big Easy Awards in New Orleans. They’ve also opened for acts such as Lianne LaHavas, PJ Morton, Galactic, Big Freedia, The Revivalists and The Soul Rebels.

With a treasure chest of vocals, ranging from Disney princess to sultry soul, Ball adds a theatrical air and magnetism that commandeers the room—no two performances are identical. Band members anticipate one another’s grooves so smoothly, by the time they’re performing another track you forget how they’ve led you there. The Washington Post praised the group for their authenticity, stating: “While it often feels as if artists must make trade-offs of their vision in the pursuit of stardom, Tank and her crew offered no compromises.”

Be sure to experience Tank and the Bangas as they close out Levitt AMP Chattanooga’s 2017 season with an inimitable performance—magic you can only witness live.



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