'Come back soon Banks - London loves you'
Clive Rozario

13:22 24th November 2014

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It’s been a while since BANKS has ventured over to her beloved London and, despite this being a Sunday evening, her rabid fanbase have descended upon Brixton Academy in droves.

The Californian singer-songwriter finally released her long awaited debut album Goddess in September and has returned for this sold out show in the “first place to really accept her”. Her contemporary RnB sound is laced with glitchy, bass-driven electronica, much like her UK counterpart FKA Twigs. It may not be particularly ground-breaking, but her songs are elevated by her quivering vocal range and pristine production, courtesy of such British artists as Sohn, Lil Silva, TEED and the man who arguably started this whole neo-soul movement off in the UK, Jamie Woon.

When BANKS finally arrives onstage, it’s to the loudest, most frenzied reception this writer has ever witnessed at Brixton Academy, propelled by the kind of screams normally saved for One Direction. The adoration of her fanbase is surprising and terrifying in equal measures. After one false start (who forgot to turn on the microphone?), BANKS, dressed head to toe in black, starts the set with album opener ‘Alibi’, backed by simple stage setup involving minimal lights and two musicians on keys/guitar and drums.

For a long time, BANKS retains her trademark seriousness, staring at the audience and shimmying in and out of view, often retreating to the back of the stage. If this is a bid to amplify her brooding mystique, it works - but it’s not long until she breaks character to gush to the audience about how special this particular show is and how much love she has for London, grinning and almost crying.

It’s a touching moment, though a little jarring. Highlights ‘Goddess’, ‘Warm Water’ and a pulsating rendition of ‘Waiting Game’, which calls to mind her past touring partner The Weeknd, are faultless, and the only lull comes during the middle of the set when BANKS opts for some of her slower compositions. She closes the night with a double encore: a subdued cover of Drake’s ‘The Motion’, which highlights the range and purity of her vocals, and crowd favourite ‘Stick’. Come back soon BANKS. London loves you.

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Photo: WENN