Concert Review: KONGOS @ Adelaide Hall

Between Canadian Music Week, opening for Kings of Leon on the Mechanical Bull Tour, and weekends away at music festivals (Firefly, Osheaga, or Lolla… just to name a few) Kongos have been taking North America by storm.

Coming all the way from Johannesburg, South Africa, Kongos have made a huge impact with the release of their new record, Lunatic. Come With Me Now, the first single from their album just received the RIAA Gold rating. The #SCENEALLACESS secret show was a perfect way to celebrate the accomplishment.

On Monday night, 100 contest winners (plus their lucky guests) crowded around the stage at Adelaide Hall. Some arrived as early as 9am (fully prepared with soccer chairs of course) to score VIP Meet and Greet passes for after the show.

After Nightbox opened the show (they too have been busy, you may have caught them opening for The Kooks at the Danforth last week) Kongos took the stage. Kongos rocked through a small set during this special event for Scene card members. Fans had the pleasure of hearing their new song Take It From Me which is becoming a staple in their live show. For their longer shows, Kongos have a few special tricks up their sleeves, including a well-rehearsed cover you don’t want to miss. The band consists of four brothers and right away you got a taste of the unique element each member brings to the group. Their individuality showed even during this small and exclusive concert.

Dylan Kongo breaks out of the traditional band setup by playing both the bass and singing. You won’t soon forget him as a front band because he hops around the stage barefoot. The next person who gets a chance to meet the band, please ask if Dylan shows up to the gig in bare feet or takes his shoes off backstage. Johnny Kongo is the oldest of the 4 brothers, which is quite apparent during their performances. He brings the band together with strong accordion solos and catchy vocal hooks. If you haven’t seen Kongos yet, you will recognize his powerful voice right away. The second oldest brother, Jesse Kongo, pounded away on the drums all night, while having a Sam Roberts-like charisma. You can feel his stage presence, even from behind the drum kit. Danny Kongo, although he plays guitar, keeps the groove going with his cool riffs. He really stole the show during Come With Me Now. Each Kongos’ song takes different aspects of rock, folk and their South African roots, and channels it into a unique and catchy song.

You can see the momentum the band has gained every time they visit Toronto. During their show at CMW in May, most people were singing along to just Come With Me Now. Now, people were bouncing up and down from start to finish, as well as singing along to I’m Only Joking, the band’s newest single. If you are a fan of those two songs, be sure to check out Kids These Days, which has the same hand banging beat, but with an even catchier tune.

The band is busy touring with Kings of Leon on their Mechanical Bull Tour. The match up of Kings of Leon and Kongos is the perfect family affair. Both bands have a similar lineup in terms of age and instrument. Jared Followill’s, the youngest brother in Kings of Leon, describes his introduction to the bass in Talihina Sky- The Story of Kings of Leon. It is interesting to hear how each member started playing their instrument. In a band consisting of family members, you wonder if the youngest members started playing their instrument by choice or default. Hopefully, making a documentary is something that the bands discuss on the road. I know Kongos fans would love to learn more about the history of these musically talented brothers. This video below is a great start.

For all of our interviews and features with KONGOS, click here.

Review by Amy Wesson |

Leave a Reply

9 + 1 =