I experienced a spellbinding performance last Saturday night at Gasa Gasa. Big Freedia was everything I hoped for and more. The venue was packed, bouncing, and rowdy while Big Freedia was working it on stage. I had just watched a brief documentary of her on YouTube, and she did not upset. Big Freedia wowed the audience and truly is The Queen Diva of New Orleans.
Heading to the venue with the sole purpose of to dance around with Big Freedia and her fans, I was in awe when I arrived for the band preceding her: Tank and the Bangas. The music was a fusion of everything I loved- soul, funk, brass, poetry, and theatrics. As much as I wanted to dance to their groove, I couldn’t take my eyes off the stage- I thought I was going to miss something, and in my mind, that just could not happen. Tarriona, the leading lady and poet of Tank and the Bangas, was mesmerizing; her back-up singers were killing it too, so it was a double whammy. She may be small, but Tarriona has mighty pipes. And quite the style- think steampunk meets Tim Burton, but feminine, flattering, and sassy. Between her dynamite look and dramatic and stunning facial expressions, Tarriona was bigger than life. TATB drew the reaction where you look around to make eye contact with people to find out if they are seeing what you’re seeing. Without words, I asked my friend, “Are you seeing what I’m seeing? Are we both watching the same magic?”. We did. Then we acted like looney-tunes and waited outside for TATB after the show.
The following day, I sent my sisters a link to a Tank and the Bangas YouTube performance, and I bought the album off iTunes. Tank and the Bangas can serenade me while I journey to Paris in a few days (so I won’t be writing here for a bit). The best news of that evening: Tank and the Bangas will be playing Wednesday’s at one of my favorite watering holes/venues: The Maple Leaf. You must go check them out; you won’t be disappointed.