Crystal Ballroom – Portland, OR
Thursday, October 16th 2014
Banks, technically known as Jillian Rose Banks, started songwriting at the age of 15. She self-taught herself to play the piano and has already toured internationally with The Weeknd. In May 2014 FoxWeekly named her an “Artist To Watch”. One could dub her sound as alternative/electronic pop intertwined with new age “indie” R&B similar to The Weeknd. She cites Lauryn Hill and Fiona Apple as her inspirations.
Opening the show with “Alibi” from her new album and the name of her first tour, “The Goddess”, Banks’ signature soft, whimsical voice emerges, contrasting with her subtle lyrical profanity to add an element of darkness and badass edge to her music. She constantly does a subtle, sultry shoulder roll and devilish romp around the stage during breaks in vocals to add to the darkness of her music. During “Brain”, she does a disappearing act and emerges in the middle of the crowd making her way dancing and singing individually to lucky fans on the outskirts of the runway.
One could physically and emotionally see the angst and emotion behind her lyrics as she performed, especially through her songs “Drowning” and “Change” where her tranquil and calm demeanor altered to a louder, almost vexed voice during certain moments in the song, highlighting a strong past emotional experience.
Banks then made it a point to let every female in the building know that “they are a f**cking Goddess”. The crowd exploded while she proceeded performing her more popular track, “Goddess”. There was a definite moment of girl power solidarity in the room as each woman’s voice in the venue boomed singing along with every word.
A mood shift in the middle of the show took place as Banks toned in down by taking it back to where she first began; at the keyboard. She performed an acoustic rendition of “Fall Over” that amplified her unconventional tone. Suddenly, the background of one of her first released songs, “Warm Water”, transpired and emitted a lighthearted and jazzy mood taking a break from the bass-heavy sound. The crowd immediately began moving and dancing in pure bliss as a carefree vibe became contagious throughout the ballroom.
Banks has the cool, confident and empowering elements that any girl can admire making her an idol to her fans as an artist. With her first full-length album, let alone her first tour, she possessed the energy needed in her stage presence to keep the show exciting, which isn’t surprising considering her countless performances at some of the worlds most famous music festivals such as: Coachella, Sasquatch! and Bonnaroo.
Although considering the mellow vibe of her music as a whole, the bass-heavy beats frequently overpowered her live performance at times and shadowed her soft, beautiful voice which was disappointing; this was an element that was probably used to add to the energy and dramatic effect of a live show in the end as there were profound moments of various mood shifts throughout the night.
To end the night, Banks went into her most recent hit, “Beggin For Thread”. The energy was beyond lively among the crowd of a sea of tattoos, black eyeliner and her signature black hats that covered fans. From this performance, it is needless to say that you can add Banks to the list of major women power artists of today alongside the likes of Lana Del Rey, Lorde and Katy Perry as she is on her way of becoming a major threat and force to mainstream music and beyond.
Written By Kelsey Rzepecki