It was just last week when we reported that Bounce-Worthy alum and just all around dope band Tank and the Bangas had taken the top prize in NPR's Tink Desk Concert competition. As part of their winnings, the group traveled to NPR's Washington, D.C. office to perform in the popular concert series and the result is nothing short of spectacular.
Within seconds of opening, it's immediately easy to figure out why Tank and the Bangas earned such an honor as Tarriona “Tank” Ball breaks into an infectious grin as she takes in the moment with wide-eyed joy. What follows is over 20 minutes of fun as they walked the attentive audience through "Boxes and Squares," "Quick" and "Rollercoasters" from their 2013 studio album, Think Tank. While they only perform three songs, you're left feeling as if you've sat through an entire show as Tank and her backing singer Angelika "Jelly" Joseph effortlessly play off each other as they scat, adlib and full-on blow through the songs with beautiful precision.
The best part about watching them in action is the genuine fun that they are obviously having as they do what they do best. Band members Merell Burkett Jr., Norman Spence II, Joshua Johnson, Jonathan Johnson, and Albert Allenback are all smiles as they provide the playground for Tank and Jelly to romp across. Simple songs become transportive experiences as viewers are taken on a journey to the colorful land of Tank and the Bangas. It feels both spontaneous and immersive as they invite the audience to join in by snapping along as she alternates between singing and a spoken word/rap hybrid. Before launching into the final song, "Rollercoaster," Tank dedicates it to Jazzland, an amusement park in her New Orleans hometown that stands abandoned, a stark reminder of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. Although it only lives on in memory, she remembers it as "the place where I first saw what love looked like" before launching into the song about the ups-and-downs of love. As the performance draws to a close amid cheers and whistles from the audience, the band's graciousness is evident as they thank NPR for the opportunity. While the performance was definitely way too short, something tells us that this definitely won't be the last time Tank and the Bangas will find themselves on the receiving end of a standing ovation.