Have you ever heard an electrical “crack,” shoot across the sky? This past Thursday, the fifth of April, that crack came in the form of Tank and the Bangas. Before one even entered White Oak Music Hall, it’d be hard to miss eager fans waiting in a line that might rival a line at the DMV. Except people were excited in this line. In fact, some radiated joy, eager to engage in what was sure to be an electric evening.
Tank and the Bangas built up the anticipation in the air before they even approached the stage. With a merch table that sold out of vinyl within thirty minutes of doors opening and a completely packed house, Houston was not only ready for the band, they needed it. As if more suspense was needed, opener Maggie Koerner delivered a stirring vocal performance that drew the crowd in. Her pipes packed a surprising punch that could be showcased in their full glory during her new song “Wasted,” that was performed mid set. Maggie’s powerful vocals overshadowed her band, with guitar and drum features leaving room for growth. Maggie’s pianist exhibited personality and interaction that brought life to the stage along with delightful interactions with the lead singer that amused the crowd. Be sure to check out her talent-I am certain she will be going places sooner than later.
Finally the moment came when members of Tank and the Bangas filed out onto the stage. Building up the impending performance as much as humanly possible, a musical interlude featuring silly outbursts from alto saxophonist Albert Allenback. Jelly and Tank bust onto the stage in the true spirit of New Orleans-bounce dancing then twerking to audience members. The group’s riotous set included the songs that got them national notoriety like, “Quick,” and “Eggs over Easy.” Nothing quite pumped up the crowd like an energetic performance of fan favorite, “Walmart.” To quote a nearby concert go-er that travelled from another state to see the performance, “Oh snap, this is my jam! Been waiting all night for this!!” Tank's sharp cadence and witty lyricism took on a life of its own as she seemed to be an infinite wellspring of joyful energy. The band could define and redefine audience engagement over and over again, as Tank, Albert, and Jelly constant encouraged clapping, jumping, along with dancing from the entire crowd. Unlike other audiences, this Houston group was more than eager to respond and comply with very request made of them. Having attended a few (just a few) shows in my time, this was undoubtedly one of the most exciting I’ve had the honor of attending. The set had its tender, quiet moments as well, truly exhibiting the range of the group through the sweet melodic crooning of, “Oh Heart.” Tank wrapped the set with an iPhone lit variation of the soulful, “Rollercoasters,” ending a magical evening in an equally magical way.
Honestly, if you haven’t seen Tank and the Bangas I can assure you that their showmanship, quality of musical performance, and audience engagement would make it worth you traveling any distance to catch one of their concerts. If you’re at the right show, you’ll spot me there, jumping up and down with the crowd myself.