Last night was only my third time seeing BANKS, but to see her perform the songs from her new record III was a completely different experience from the past two shows.
Her voice is stronger than ever, her confidence has grown, and she is easily one of the best performers you’ll ever see. I can safely say this morning that my voice is a bit fucked. I sang my little heart out last night, something which I rarely do. I guess I felt I needed to get everything out. Her music is soothing, it is healing and just makes everything alright. She’s is nothing short of phenomenal.
She opens her set with Til Now, which is a powerful anthem. It’s a solid ‘fuck you’ and BANKS does this so well. On stage all she needs is Derek, Ben, Nadine and Allison. Nadine and Alison, along with BANKS move in ways that make you feel like you are at something that is more than just a concert. There is something so ethereal and magical about watching the three of them move together. Of course, I lose my mind when Stroke starts. I told my girlfriend we should have brought red bandanas or something to recreate the moves but luckily, we improvised (nearly smacking each other!) During the set I was stood near a guy who was absolutely having the time of his life; moving in ways we all should at shows and screaming every word back at Jillian. That’s how you do it. I think I spent more time watching him! Something I love seeing at BANKS’ shows is just how passionate her fans are. Everyone just screams the words back, as if we have been waiting our whole lives to just get this all out. She is a phenomenal writer, and like I mentioned above her vocals have become even stronger.
There are so many perfect moments during the show, but for me it came from the most tender and vulnerable part- when she recited her poem, Ode To The Grey Zone, that’s when it all fell into place for me. I was one of them who filmed the whole thing- I just had to. It is such a gorgeous and vulnerable piece of art, and it is something that is so comforting. I needed it. There are so many highlights from her new record that came to life last night. One of the most important ones was If We Were Made Of Water. Did I expect to hear it? Hell no. I lost my mind. It is such a strong song, and on record her vocals on this are insane but when you witness it live, you take on a different meaning. That’s what I love about Jillian- when you see her perform these songs after religiously playing them at home, they really do take on a different meaning. They become a bigger part of you, and that’s the part you cling to. Always.
Seeing everyone lose their mind to Gimme was brilliant. I think this, and Underdog are the ones that caused me and my girlfriend to absolutely ruin our voice and wake up with sore throats this morning. Completely worth it. Drowning and Waiting Game were as always, a joy to witness. I love that she’s switched up the set, and even though I wanted to see This Is What It Feels Like again- seeing If We Were Made Of Water just completed it all for me. Poltergeist was ridiculous. I love the choreography to this. I think for me, the best part of the show choreography wise was Contaminated. It is such a heartbreaking song, but when you see it performed it takes on a new life almost. The way it is performed is so heartbreaking, and you feel slightly voyeuristic watching it- seeing something so fragile. But even in BANKS’ tender moments, there is so much strength and I love that about her so much. Alaska caused everyone to lose their mind as did Underdog. The whole set was a delight, and I’m just so excited to watch her keep evolving as a performer and writer. She truly is a Goddess. Also, the songs playing before she came on stage made me love her even more. My girlfriend, who is a huge Lil’ Kim fan left her place in the drinks queue to run up to me and recite the lyrics. I fucking love her. Before BANKS came on stage Where My Girls At by 702 was playing- pretty sure I was treating everyone to a nice rendition of that. She played so much Missy too, which is a given!
As someone who has been a fan right from the start, seeing Jillian grow and become the performer she is now is truly beautiful. The chapter of III is her showing us how she has grown and blossomed into this confident performer. I’ve always loved how you can see how much she loves playing shows on her face. When she performs Beggin’ For Thread, and hands the mic to the crowd this beautiful smile takes her over and the dimples shows us just how much it means to her. Maybe because she sees how much it means to us too. Seeing Godless and Propaganda live were out of this world too. Definitely a highlight for sure.
With just three records she has become this vital part of music, and so many people’s lives. I loved seeing so many people from our LGBTQ+ community in the crowd. It felt like home, it felt like a safe space and given the state of the world right now- this is what we need. Her music is a safety net, her shows make you feel like you finally belong and being who you are is enough. The world puts us down enough, we don’t need to do it to ourselves.
Last night was the first night of the UK/EU III tour; so, if you are lucky enough to be going, you are in for a real treat. If you’ve never seen BANKS live before, prepare to have your mind blown. If you’ve seen her before, you’ll truly see how she has grown, and you’ll just be so proud of her.