With every New Year come endless lists of up and coming artists to look out for in the year ahead – heck, we even got involved this year – but Banks was sitting pretty in nigh on every single one of them. But don’t be fooled into thinking she’s just another artist that’s been tipped for success that invariably fades into the background, because we think Banks really is set for stardom. Making dark, stripped back, electronic R’n’B in a similar vein to The Weeknd, who she recently toured with, Banks has mastered the art of articulating the universally recognised feelings of being lost, alone and confused. Where The Weeknd recognises a more gritty world of sex and drugs in his lyrics, Banks takes more of an emotionally empowered twist to the genre. As Banks emerges on stage to the bass-heavy intro for Before I Ever Met You thundering through the room, it’s clear that she is nervous. Throughout the first half of the performance, she retreats into the gap between where her guitarist and her drummer are set up, pacing up and down from the front to the back of the stage and into the blinding light set up behind her. Moving quite unceremoniously into crowd favourite, This Is What It Feels Like (which came a tad too early for our liking), her nervousness was still showing, and after some quick-fire renditions of Change and Brain from her acclaimed London EP, we are treated to her first address of the evening. The nerves, it seems, have now completely vanished as she introduces a new tune forthcoming on her album… “This one is about me releasing the sexy, powerful Goddess I’ve been trying to create. It goes out to all the ladies out there, because you are all Goddesses. This is called Goddess” An empowering and lustful performance follows – a story, shrouded in green lights and minimal beats encapsulates the sold out KOKO. BANKS has truly arrived. Hitting her peak mid set, with a sexy acoustic version of Warm Water at the piano, we are then spoiled to death with a cover Aaliyah’s Are You That Somebody, one of the standouts from her recent BBC Live Lounge. Looking around, some people were reaching to put their coats back on. Sorry, but you didn’t really think that was it! Did you? Returning to the stage for a rapturous encore, BANKS finally closed out her captivating performance with an emotional rendition of The Weeknd’s What You Need, before leaving the crowd whipped up into a frenzy. This definitely isn’t the last time we’ll be seeing or hearing from Banks, and if her debut album is on the cards for a summer release, we’re hoping it will be sooner rather than later. Wanna see if she’s playing live near you? Check here.
Additional writing by Lee Smart