Believing that “everyone should be their most powerful selves” Los Angeles singer/songwriter Jillian Rose Banks (AKA BANKS) named her first full-length record, Goddess (Harvest Records), a seemingly confident title for an act few people were aware of, just a short time ago.
But, after increasing buzz with her London EP, a cut on the Divergent soundtrack, and a tour with The Weeknd, “goddess” is what BANKS is quickly on the road to becoming, as evidenced by her hour-long set at First Avenue in Minneapolis.
After intermission, lights dimmed to almost darkness again, and BANKS emerged in all black, with two sidemen, launching into ‘Before I Ever Met You’ followed quickly by ‘Alibi’. The music itself is a moody blend of trip-hop, goth, R&B, and widescreen alternative (Lauryn Hill+Fiona Apple+Portishead+ Lykke Li?) with lush melodies and layered, overdubbed vocals.
Much like Lorde was doing on the other side of the globe, BANKS has taken those influences and interests, thrown them into a sonic melting pot, and emerged with a dreamy sound and lyrics of broken relationships that has related immediately to so many people.
Songs like ‘Brain’ and the title track were similar to their recorded counterparts, due to the precision in creating the music and the overdubbed vocals, while the more bare ‘Someone New’ smoldered in its minimalism and emotive lyrics, which obviously cut deep to the woman singing them.
Her dialogue between songs was minimal, probably in part due to her seeming shyness on stage and also to keep up the mystery façade of the songs and ambience of the show. The younger-skewed crowd was mostly rabid about the singer and her music, yet was also mysteriously chatty during several of the slower songs.
“This is our last song—it’s called Beggin’ for Thread”, she announced, resulting in loud wails for more and for the song itself, which is in regular rotation at local radio.
“We love you Minneapolis, we never want to leave you” she remarked before the one song encore of ‘Stick’, which was inspired by “the sexiness of Abel”, referring to The Weeknd’s Abel Tesfaye.
BANKS has mentioned of her music, "I sing about falling in love, I sing about anger, I sing about fear, I sing about feeling sexy, I sing about confidence, and also about feeling completely insecure. I sing about every single thing, and every single thing makes me human and makes me beautiful… and a goddess". Point proven.