Tank and the Bangas exceed expectations at Spacebar
On a sweltering Friday evening, I made my way over to Spacebar in Old North Columbus for the biggest event the young venue has ever hosted.
Pretty much everyone reading this article probably knows that Tank and the Bangas won the NPR Tiny Desk contest and have a vague idea of what their sound is. Shoot, if you know the band well you still might not be able to adequately describe their sound. However you’d label it, they brought the house down at Spacebar last week. It might be their southern heritage, but the heat inside Spacebar did virtually nothing to faze them. They got their NPR hit “Quick” out of the way early on, perhaps to weed out the fans of the song rather than the band. A few people stepped outside to escape the stuffiness of the venue but for the most part, the room became one sweaty entity. People were champs.
And so was the band. They remained secluded until set time (kinda bummed me out because Counterfeit Madison did AWESOME and they need to experience the full Count Maddy experience). The the four dudes that make up the “Bangas” emerged and hyped up the crowd. Sidekick Jelly was next to emerge, and finally Tank – adorned in a flowy red outfit and an afro tied off in pigtails. The dual singers’ appearance seems to change with every public appearance, much like the band’s songs. Live, they were definitely recognizable, but nuances changed each time. It’s akin to hearing remixes of a song. Except each new version seems to be improved on the spot – a testimony to the band’s live ability. Sadly, I wasn’t able to make out Tank’s facial expressions (Spacebar likes a dark environment) but the band’s animated stage presence communicated a definite aura of joy.
Counterfeit Madison, as aforementioned, kicked off the night. There might not be a more appropriate artist in Columbus, or perhaps anywhere, to support a collective like Tank and the Bangas. Make this a tour package already.
Sharon Udoh is beloved by much of the Columbus arts scene and this evening’s Counterfeit Madison set I’m sure won over new fans. The keyboard – a back up after the Nelsonville Festival set – was broken after the third song. What made the set even more impressive was how the Count Maddy band adapted – the mishap freed Sharon to roam the stage (and floor) while guitarist Andrew Graham (of Swarming Branch) quickly adapted his guitar work to match what would have been Sharon’s piano parts. Fellow Count Maddy band member Adam Hardy would remark to me later that night “you just saw a once in a lifetime set.”