Banks w/ Lance Skiiiwalker
Showbox SoDo, Seattle, WA
Dark R&B star Banks – née Jillian Rose Banks – stopped by Seattle’s Showbox SoDo in between Coachella weekends for a sold out show that lived up to every ounce of hype. Known for her mysterious persona, her live show shaped up to a stellar artistic performance. The crowd, full of young, enthusiastic fans, knew every…single…word.
Chicago vocalist and record producer Lance Skiiiwalker opened the show his debut album, with a DJ backing him up. He walked on stage, travel mug in hand, and slipped off his Birkenstocks, wandering towards the light-wrapped mic stand. It was like he had just rolled out of bed and happened to find a packed venue in his living room, that’s how laid back he was. His set was a quick 30-minutes, but showed off the experimental freedom of his debut record, Introverted Intuition, released October 2016. This one to watch is most assuredly a distinct creative voice on the scene, and the crowd already knew some of his tracks well enough to sing along.
A half hour later and the sold out venue is hot and steeped in a thick fog, every light in the place gone completely black. And then Banks was there, on a low platform at the back of the stage, accompanied by two dancers, all shrouded in mesh, moving as shadows during “Poltergeist,” and coming forward for some slinky, syncopated dance moves for “Fuck With Myself.” From sinister to scathing, there’s a lyrical power in Banks’ material that doesn’t sound like every other young lover on the airwaves, giving the artist a unique intrigue.
Every moment of the show seemed very carefully thought out. Banks’ emoting seemed authentically vulnerable, her edginess neither too materialistic nor angsty. The set list was a thoughtful balance of Banks’ two albums, 2014’s debut Goddess, and her sophomore album, The Altar, released September 2016. And she worked her way through, the crowd wrapped around her little finger, singing right along. Or rather shouting. Accompanied by a band you could barely see in the dark corners of the stage, Banks’ performance concentrated on the vocal acrobatics she’s capable of.
For “This Is What It Feels Like,” she declared, “this is for every single person who’s been with me since day one.” And then she asked everyone to put their phones away for just one song and blew the crowd away with “Mind Games.” Whether she was delivering soaring electro-pop turns or showing off her beatboxing skills, Banks live is exactly what you want it to be. It’s dark, uninhibited, and wraps you in a witchy cloak of soulful intensity that’s hard to let go.
Banks Set List
Fuck With Myself
This Is What It Feels Like
Beggin For Thread
This Is Not About Us
Review and photos by Stephanie Dore