BANKS Sells Out The Hollywood Palladium On The III Tour Check out our thoughts, photos and found video from the concert!
LOS ANGELES, CA- In an interview with Billboard Magazine, Banks explained that she titled her third studio album III as a way to convey the “beginning, middle, and end” of a part of her life [*] and the album seems to communicate that message through its sonic evolution.
Banks’ first two albums, The Altar, and Banks seemed to demonstrate her exploration with different studio and production styles, even dipping her toes into hip hop leaning sonic elements. The jump from Banks to The Altar showed a really experimental side of Banks and her fans were excited with the slight shift in direction preaching their goddess’ evolution. With III, Banks continues her musical growth.
The cuts on III are surprisingly brighter than her prior albums. If you fell in love with Banks because of her brooding, lovelorn sentiments, you’d still find the substance of that mood in her songwriting, but the improved production value on the album and the various collaborations (which includes a featured performance by Francis and the Lights on “Look What You’re Doing To Me” and a songwriting assist by Miguel on “The Fall”) give this album an added spice that her previous albums lacked. This album may not be as dark and synthy as her earlier works, but it’s Banks through and through.
Banks’ The III Tour came through her hometown, and we were able to catch her bring these new tracks to life.
Kevin Garrett collaborated with Banks on the song “Contaminated” and he is currently on tour with Banks throughout the month of October. Though his name may not ring familiar to you, odds are good that you’ve heard his contributions in popular music. Among a laundry list of projects he has contributed to, he co-wrote the first track on Beyonce’s Lemonade (“Pray You Catch Me”) and was the featured vocalist on Rudimental’s “Do You Remember”.
His music leans emotional which floats through his R&B stylings. After putting out a handful of EPs (Mellow Drama in 2015 and False Hope in 2017, he dropped his debut full-length Hoax this year. The vibe in his music parallels Banks’ vibe. It’s music that’s warm and introspective, which is buoyed by Kevin’s unaffected vocals that give his music a certain pristine honesty. It’s the kind of feeling you get when you listen to a James Blake track.
Like his music, his performance on this evening was a moody plunge into the center of his being, and Banks’ fans seemed to be eating it up. Needless to say, I think he left a very favorable impression on the Palladium crowd.
Any fan of Banks can attest that her live performances are amazing. Whether singing a ballad illuminated by the single dim spotlight or movie her lithe body accompanied by her two fabulous dancers Allison Fletcher and Nadine Olmo under the dramatically pulsing stage lights, Banks brings her music to life with an intensity that is always a pleasure to watch. This was my fourth time seeing Banks perform live, and I am still amazed by the simple yet effective stage production and intensely deep and dark emotional outpouring that this songstress gave in every moment.
Banks’ connection to her L.A. fans is strong, as was clearly evident every time they belted our lyrics whenever she outstretched her microphone toward the room. When the audience wasn’t joining Banks in song, they were bouncing to every bass drop or swaying with every crescendo.
She took a moment during the performance to revel in performing to a sold-out crowd in such an iconic venue. This was a special evening for Banks, and she acknowledged as much when she addressed the crowd to say, “This is so crazy. This is so surreal for me. I love you guys so much.”
Her setlist list seemed to mirror that which she has performed at her prior stops on your, but with set choreographed pieces, I’m sure that moving songs around would be more troublesome than naught. As she has done at other shows, she took a moment to recite the poem “Ode To The Grey Zone”, which she said was a possible title for the album. Its final couplet, “You need to remember that whenever one road seems too long/ Answers to unanswered questions lie in your unwritten songs.” was particularly life-affirming.
She did give her L.A. fans something unique when she had a string quartet accompany her on “Contaminated.” I absolutely loved the live instrumentation for the performance of this song. The mysterious strings, together with the perfectly choreographed movement on stage, was something otherworldly to experience.
But my absolute favorite moment of the show was when she performed “Sawzall” which segued seamlessly into “Better”. The emotional crescendo of those two songs had the blood in my veins boiling. From “Why didn’t you say you need me? (Why don’t you say what you need?)” to “I can love you better than she can”. Oi. Those two songs were meant to be performed together. It’s about as perfect a pairing of songs you can get.