For slam poet turned singer Tank Ball, it’s a natural step _lowres

Photo by GUS BENNETT JR. -- Tank and the Bangas will perform at the Baton Rouge Blues Festival on Sunday at 5:15 p.m. at the Soul of BR stage.

New Orleans funk-soul outfit Tank and the Bangas will take the stage at Blues Fest this weekend, performing from 5:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Soul of BR Stage.

Already a well-known force in New Orleans (the band won Offbeat Magazine’s Emerging Artist Award in 2014) and a well-traveled touring act, Tank and the Bangas are ready to share their music with a Baton Rouge crowd.

“We want the show to be huge,” said lead singer Tarriona Ball. “We want every show to have a big sound. We want it to give people an experience that makes them a fan the first time they see us. I want them to feel the way I feel — inspired.”

Ball, better known to fans and friends in the music circuit as “Tank,” developed her soulful lyric-delivery style in the slam-poetry scene.

“Coming from poetry, you learn to get on the stage and feel completely naked and let people judge you for your words,” Ball said.

After she was comfortable performing poetry, she said she knew she had learned how to perform freely.

“I can get onstage and not care what anyone says about it because I have already been judged,” she said.

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In recent years, the energy of full-band performance has driven Ball and her bandmates.

“We are always looking to surprise the fans,” Ball said. “People always say that every show they’ve been to has been different, and it’s because we want it to be different. We make it that way.”

The band, which performs with a keyboard player, brass section and backup singers, has been tapped to play big shows with some of New Orleans’ biggest names recently.

During Mardi Gras weekend, Tank and the Bangas opened for both Galactic and The Revivalists. However, festival performances are where the band feels it shines brightest.

“There’s just something about the sound and the energy when you’re playing outside,” Ball said.

Ball said tough crowds are rare but inevitable, but she doesn’t let it dampen the energy of the show.

“If the crowd isn’t there, then all I can do is engage and feed on the energy that is onstage instead of offstage,” she said. “I let my band carry me to the finish line.”