Banks – Koko

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Why this gig?

I’ve been taking notice of the BBC “Sound of…” list for a few years now. I usually pick up on a couple of acts to check out. Banks was the only act on this year’s list that sounded interesting. And when this date was announced just after I had been listening to her, I knew I had to go.


I really don’t enjoy DJs as support for live acts. It just seems lazy. And cheap. But Eclair Fifi is a DJ. She plays about forty minutes of records that I don’t know (oh, with the single exception of Toto’s “Africa”) before leaving to make way for Banks.


For someone who has only released a couple of EPs, Banks is certainly creating quite a buzz. This is her second night at Koko and they both sold out quickly. And even before she comes on there’s a level of expectation in the room that would be hard to live up to.

But live up to it she does. She opens with what are probably her best known songs, “Before I Ever Met You” and “This is What it Feels Like”, which is a slightly bizarre choice but it’s ok – the rest of the set proves just as strong.

Banks herself seems at home on stage. She’s often backlit so it’s hard to really see her, but the lighting really matches the mood of the songs. There’s very little banter between songs but that’s ok, the music itself is strong enough to carry the night.

She has a limited repertoire, so the set is necessarily short. She plays pretty much every song she has released, plus at least new song and a couple of covers, but the encore still ends just under and hour after the show started.

If you follow the music press then you’ll have read a lot about Banks over the last few months. On the evidence of this show, you’ll be hearing a lot more about her in the future.

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