By Alma Reed
Written by Wes Lytz
Tank and The Bangas shock and awed Nashville’s Cannery Ballroom Saturday night. Here’s what you missed, and what you need to know.
Singer-songwriter Maggie Koerner opened the show. With powerful and soulful vocals, commanding stage presence and swagger, Ms. Koerner laid the necessary groundwork for a TaTB precision strike.
If you are not familiar with the work of Tank and The Bangas, then you need to be. They won the 2017 NPR Tiny Desk Contest, beating out some 6000 entrants. The music is deeply influenced by soul, R&B, hip-hop and jazz and as great as the music is, the defining feature of Tank and The Bangas is the lyrics. Frontwoman Tarriona “Tank” Ball is a soulful and expressive singer as well as an accomplished slam poet. Sometimes subtle and nuanced, always philosophical, playful and ironic, culturally apropos. Tank and The Bangas “edge” is the confluence of the spoken word performance against a background of evocative music.
The Cannery Ballroom may not have been the best choice of venues for this particular performance. A large and noisy crowd tends to saturate the acoustics of the room. I could barely make out the lyrics. Judging from the profusion of ambient conversation during the performance, I doubt many others could either. There’s a reason they make you silence your phone and shut your trap when you see Shakespeare in the theater.