This was my third Tank and the Bangas show. I was late to the party, yes, but once you are touched by the power of the fully fairy-like Tank and the assorted Bangas, you’re fully indoctrinated into the party. Still prolific, their new album Green Balloon dropped in 2019 and its companion piece Red Balloon will be out in May 2022. The single “Stolen Fruit” is beautiful and stirring, and the video is joyous. The newer songs are more soulful, it seems, and yet feel like the same jams we’ve been bouncing to since 2013.
I found them through their NPR Tiny Desk win and have been following ever since. The music reminds me of a group of naturally musically talented children let into a room filled with instruments and told to have fun. The vibe of their live shows is very similar to the Flaming Lips. We’re all in this together. We’re going to bounce when she tells us to bounce, even if it’s just your neck.
Unless you’re a devotee, its difficult to separate the songs because the whole experience weaves together a kind of a group fever dream that everyone in the room is party to. You can’t call it jazz, or pop, or hip hop, or folk, or soul. You can call them magical, but the only ears that will hear that are those that are attuned to magical things.
All that was stolen
Now can be reborn
I reminisce the sunny day
I might try to run away
Like sitting in a sweet escape (from “Stolen Fruit”)
At one point, the person standing next to us shouted at the blonde, male sax player to “make love to” his sax during a solo, which was certainly a vibe. I think everyone needed to untie the knots in our spines that have developed over the last few years. We just needed to aspire to be like the sax player, who did an excellent job of almost, but not quite, playing as if he wanted to get it on with their sax, much to the joy of the audience.
What can I say about St. Louis? We love our funky, unnamable, remarkable, magical Bangas. All hail at the altar of Tank. And the sax player. | Melissa Cynova