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BANKS' impressive intimate performance sizzles at sold out Doug Fir Lounge

BANKS live at the Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, OR

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Fresh off a performance at the 2014 Sasquatch Music Festival days before arriving in Portland, and in the midst of a 29-date 2014 Summer Tour --- the majority of which are European festival shows, Jillian Banks (aka BANKS), played to an ecstatic crowd at the Doug Fir Lounge May 26. Those in the know were treated to a dynamic performance by the young artist.

Jillian Banks, aka BANKS
Jillian Banks, aka BANKSPhoto: Pat Herrera

With the release of her newest single, Goddess, excited anticipation is swelling for the release of her full length debut, Goddess, and is scheduled to drop September 9. BANKS has gone from a relative unknown, but openly shared from the stage she was composing songs in her bedroom just a year-and-a-half ago -- a girl and her piano -- is now on a full-fledged summer festival circuit. Needless to say, BANKS’ star is skyrocketing.

With two critically acclaimed EPs and the instant global connection of online videos and music streams, the youthful, sultry singer has amassed a growing, loyal fan base from around the world. Her modest number of songs have been played millions of times on Spotify and SoundCloud, with repeated pleas from Facebook fans to come to cities not scheduled or previously missed.

The crowd erupted as a slender silhouette emerged from the side of a darkened stage. As she reached for her mic, BANKS broke into the haunting, alluring heartbroken love ballad Before I Ever Met You. The mood continued to simmer on the enchanting dubstep groove of This Is What It Feels Like, as she seductively swayed with equal conviction amid pulsating LED flashes that showered the stage also revealing her band mates, guitarist/keyboardist Nate Mercereau and drummer/percussionist Derek Taylor.

BANKS kept the night grooving and slide into the after hours vibe of Brain. Using the hypnotic bridge to engage the crowd, she motioned everyone to raise their arms in the air and had the room waving in unison.

Next was her newest released track, Goddess. And any self-referential interpretations could be quickly dismissed as BANKS discussed the importance of self-worth and emphasized the song’s lyrics applied to everyone, even the guys, and in a supportive New Thought affirmation professed to the crowd, “Everyone is a goddess.”

BANKS continued her impressive set covering the slinky R&B groove of Warm Water. And for good measure played to her sensuous videos and sexed it up, but not before she acknowledged her nerves before performing and needing to turn it to something “loosey and juicy”, and then jumped into Aaliyah’s Are You That Someone.

She rounded out the her sizzling 60-minute set with the soulful shuffle of Change, followed by the intense, broodiness of Waiting Game, with glitching synths pulsating like love’s heartbeat before she sincerely thanked the crowd and waved good night.

But the screaming crowd was not going to let here go easily and roared for more. Graciously she returned, acknowledging she had one last song from the new album, entitled Stick, and delivered a classic R&B shuffle accompanied by a stylish guitar solo from Mercereau.

After experiencing her performance, it’s no wonder why she’ll continue to earn rave reviews for her music and concerts. Despite the speculative critique of her upcoming album title and her seductive and alluring music videos, BANKS revealed her unassuming girl-next-door with sincerity, and gave heartfelt thanks to the sold out crowd. Even admitting her nervousness before performing, she's a singer in control once the music started and gave a passionately inviting performance with confidence.

If you didn’t make it to Sasquatch or missed her at the Doug Fir, just know that BANKS is not to be missed. When this young lady gets on stage to sing, she’s all business. And kudos to the Doug Fir for landing BANKS, because it’s money in the bank she will not be playing an intimate night club next time in Portland and tickets won’t last.