Tank & The Bangas + Cory Henry Bring Tour To Boston: Review, Photos & Video

Read a review and view photos and videos of Wednesday's concert at Paradise Rock Club.

By Andrew Bruss Mar 18, 2022 10:10 am PDT

Tank and the Bangas teamed up with Cory Henry and The Funk Apostles to bring a doubleheader to Boston’s Paradise Rock Club on Wednesday, March 16 that was a complete cross-section of 21st-century Black music by two Grammy-nominated titans of cool.

Henry’s performance was equal parts Herbie Hancock and Stevie Wonder and when Tank and the Bangas followed his set, they put on a hyperdynamic show whose sound touched on artists ranging from Kamasi Washington to Nicki Minaj.

Henry took the stage flanked by a formal drums/bass rhythm section, two backup vocalists, and a second keyboard player to hold down the fort while he went full-wizard on his holy trinity Hammond/Roland/Moog rig. Henry cut his teeth as a preschooler wowing church audiences on the organ but it was his monophonic pitch-shifting leads on the Moog that truly peeled eyes and dropped jaws.

As a vocalist, Henry’s ability to weave in between multiple octaves hits your heart as hard as your ears but unlike plenty of vocalists with that kind of range, it doesn’t come off as forced or even difficult. He makes it seem casual. As a frontman, Henry has a natural charisma that can’t be learned that accompanies a performance methodology that borrows heavily from Mick Jagger’s “Book on Engaging Stadium Nosebleeds” but applied it to the nightclub setting.

Tank and the Bangas exploded onto the national stage after winning NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest in 2017 and the success of their 2019 sophomore release, Green Balloon, has kept their star rising ever since.

Frontwoman Tarriona “Tank” Ball takes the stage with impossible-to-ignore charisma and an iconic sense of style that’s captivating from first sight. As a singer, her vocals range from traditional R&B to the kind of quirky spoken rap persona that brings about that Nicki Minaj comparison.

teeny (See 2 videos)
Tank and the Bangas (See 46 videos)

As for The Bangas, in addition to keys, guitar, drums and bass, they’ve got a powerhouse horn section that allows the group to seamlessly maneuver between Sly Stone funk, The Roots brand of live hip-hop and the avant-garde exploratory jazz that brings Kamasi Washington to mind.

Early in the set, “Spaceships” got the audience drawn in and singing along to the refrain, “Look at all the money,” as Tank jokingly hopped around the stage like a bunny rabbit. Her ability to alternate from an endearing on-stage darling to ferocious frontwoman is unforced and demands the undivided attention of her audience.

As much of a focal point as she may be, there is plenty of showmanship to go around in The Bangas. Saxophone/flute player Albert Allenback has a powerful stage presence in his own right and the way he engages Tank makes it hard not to draw comparisons to the dynamics between Mick and Keith, Page and Plant, David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen or Zach De La Rocha and Tom Morello.

teeny (See 2 videos)
Tank and the Bangas (See 46 videos)

While Tank and the Bangas are widely regarded as an act on the rise, Henry has been in the business since 2006 and as a virtuoso who doesn’t seem fond of writing hooks, it’s no stretch to say his commercial ceiling isn’t on par with that of his current tour mates. With that said, he tends to play a bigger room every time he comes through Boston and it’s a fair bet that the days of seeing either of these acts in a venue with a capacity of 933 is nearing its end.

By the end of the night, it was clear to everyone in the house that this was a show that years from now, ticketholders would be bragging that they saw these acts share the stage for under a thousand people.

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