Jillian Banks, better known simply as BANKS, is a carefully crafted mystery. Notoriously shy of social networking, her management team handles all of her needs, keeping tight control over the info that gets out. But even with little to go off of other than a couple excellent EPs, a sold out crowd packed in Underground Arts to watch her perform on Saturday night.
Still fresh to the scene, she made some brief comments about how new touring is to her before performing just about every song she currently has out. There are two major takeaways I had from the show. First, fans already adore her. I’ve seen few acts come to clubs like Underground Arts with no album out that have had the ferocious level of love that I saw on Saturday. Second, she is still very much in the make or break stage of her career. Despite good press in major publications, stardom is not guaranteed, and BANKS herself still seems a little uncomfortable in her shoes.
The biggest reason I have to say this is her backing vocals. There was an awesome light setup that even the venue found impressive, great musicians backing her performance, but still the use of a backing vocal track. Her voice is impressive, and the songs are all great, so why not let her voice shine in the live act? The only song that she radiated through on completely was a cover of the late, great Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody.”
But, enough of that. It was still a great show, full of fantastic songs. As I mentioned, she has the showmanship portion down. Hitting on everything, including personal favorites “Goddess” and “Waiting Game.” It was a short set, hitting the stage at 9:15, the entire set (encore included) was done by 10:15. Almost as carefully crafted as her persona. BANKS is definitely on the rise and I am looking forward to the album. Based on the enthusiastic audience, the next time she comes through, there will be no problems with her selling out again.