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BANKS Brings Moody R&B to The Showbox

Banks at The Showbox (Photo by Catie Laffoon)

Banks at The Showbox (Photo by Catie Laffoon)

Female R&B artists are nothing new. Female R&B artists with an indie/electronic twist, however, are somewhat a novelty, at least for the moment. Along with FKA Twigs, Los Angeles native BANKS (aka Jillian Banks) is leading the current charge of current artists with this buzz.

After two EPs, her debut album Goddess was released this fall, and based on the crowd’s response Tuesday night at The Showbox, her music is already gaining an enthusiastic following.

On the shadowy stage, BANKS and her two bandmates set an atmospheric mood, both with the music and dark lighting. The sole burst of white spotlight came late in the show, briefly shining on the guitarist during “Waiting Game.”

Over keyboards, drums and occasional guitar, BANKS’s vocals ranged from subdued R&B frills to full-throated declarations. The crowd responded immediately to her calls for participation, singing out the chorus to “Fuck ‘Em Only We Know” and the album’s title track, introduced with the affirmation “every single woman is a fucking goddess.” She even dipped into a little hip-hop, covering Drake’s “The Motion.”

Much of the show maintained a slow, sinuous groove. Not until set-closer “Beggin’ For Thread” and the encore “Stick” did the music pick up tempo and display a little rock flair.

Sydney’s The Movement opened the show, and their well-received set was an excellent complement to BANKS’s sound.

Alicia is a Midwest transplant who loves Seattle but misses thunderstorms. Her musical obsessions began when her coolest aunt gave her a copy of K-Tel’s Rock 80 album for Christmas when she was 7. She spent many years studying piano and voice, but the force of rock and roll won, so while she still sings in a local chorale, her true musical passions lie more with The Beatles than with Beethoven. When she’s not working at her job in HR, she can be found singing bad pop songs at the top of her lungs … although sometimes she does that