It’s only appropriate for Tank and the Bangas to pack out Crescent Ballroom on a Sunday- because they certainly took Phoenix to church. The New Orleans group brought their Red Balloon Tour to Arizona for a night of sincerity and celebration.
Opening the evening was McKinley Dixon, a Chicago wordsmith whose raw and honest lyrics scraped at the audience’s edges but ultimately won the room. Speaking from a deep place of personal experience and emotion, Dixon held nothing back through his latest song. “Tyler, Forever” and last year’s “Sun, I Rise”.
Between songs, Dixon’s interactions with the crowd had them smiling while they absorbed the content of his music. Nearly 30 minutes passed before the spell was broken and Dixon exited the stage to huge cheers to make way for the headliner.
Fittingly, Crescent Ballroom’s stage was outfitted with giant color-changing balloons that were- of course- first turned red to set the mood. Singer Tank Ball stepped onstage with another balloon of her own, tossing it into the crowd and getting the party started. The diminutive vocalist lacks for nothing when it comes to charisma and vocals and the reaction from the room was immediate joy.
Backed by the rest of the Bangas, we got stellar saxophone solos, roof-raising harmonies and an energy that flowed through the band and into a rapt audience. “No ID” had everyone up on their feet while the soulful “Communion in My Cup” nearly brought both band and fans to tears- a religious experience indeed.
There’s really nothing that can match the experience of a truly magical live show and Tank and the Bangas delivers this feeling better than so many of their peers. As the night came to an end and we’d all lifted our arms to the sky and given the band the same strength they delivered to us, it was almost jarring to step back onto the street- but at least we had another incredible memory to carry us home.
Check out all the photos from the show!
Story and photos by Olivia Khiel