BANKS @ Astor Theatre gets 9/10

Banks @ The Astor Theatre
w/ Ziggy Ramo
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

9/10

Banks has always been a unique talent. Her dark and moody alternative sound has amassed a following far and wide, but it wasn’t until this headline performance at the Astor Theatre that I understood the power and strength she holds as a true artist and creator.

Hip hop and indie pop aren’t usually two vibes that are happily married together at a stand alone concert but the interesting support choice felt good and right. Perth’s latest up and comer Ziggy Ramo brought some funky slow release vibes to the stage that reminded me of Anderson .Paak.

Playing the waiting game for 45 minutes between sets gave me that antsy feeling but I guess resolving that anticipation was exactly what Banks was aiming for. Entering the vast theatre space drenched in red blood lighting with a full veil cast over her face, her presence commanded more than just attention, it was the opening of Pandora’s sultry, demonic box. Following the eeriness of her appearance she launched pitch perfectly into Poltergeist and her two contemporary dancers painted a picture of the warped sounds and emotions. The well-constructed choreography and her deadpan expression gave off a strong possessive, almost satanic scent that lured you in as much as it challenged you.

Her knee high leather boots and black lace bustier were put into action as she sunk lower and lower to the stage to the melody of Fuck With Myself with such deliberation. She brought us to the altar with Gemini Feed in the very beginning of her set and we continued to be blown away by her vocal finesse. If there was to be any single shortfall it was perhaps an overuse of her backing tracks, which at times seemed to drown her out. In saying that her sound and style does have a large focus on the production and the huge amount of vocal layering.

Trainwreck made us notice her ferocity and womanpower as she drove it from strength to strength and in a strong juxtaposition her tender voice thanked us for being there and let us into her songwriting process. “From one random thought, to a random phrase to a random melody I can create something that I thought I never could create. It’s like a melodic chat, it’s very meditative for me,” she said.

With a small request to put away our phones and to “be in this moment with her” she launched into Better for “those that have been there since day one”. Diving deeper into the beautiful emotion seeping from her, she sign-languaged through a stunning nusery rhyme about a girl whose feet were impenetrable and gave us a stunning acoustic rendition of Mother Earth. Bringing the sexual gothic energy up once more she had everyone singing and dancing along to Warm Water before a final goodbye.

The entire performance was a roller coaster of emotions tenderly scratching at the inner lining of your heart. She went from just another Californian singer-songwriter to a woman who has poured every inch of her being and passion into creating music and feeling that makes you want to cry and fight and reminisce and feel empowered discover your inner self. I want to and have to relive another one her performances again some day.

MIA CAMPBELL-FOULKES

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