It’s always a delight when you get to experience the sounds that are inspired by the landscapes and culture of the band’s homeland. The Arizona-based quartet best known for their massive hit “Come With Me Now” graced the stage at Metropolis last Saturday to thrill the crowd with their South African inspired alt-rock. Their alternative rock sound is a worldly blend of perfectly tailored slide guitars and accordion solos. They were supported by Colony House and Sir Sly.
KONGOS have not forgotten their roots, starting off with upbeat songs “Hey I Don’t Know” and “Sex on the Radio”, the quartet weren’t shy to show off their mix of accordion and slide guitar solos. The band of four brothers, Dan, Jesse, John J., and Dylan (sons of John Kongos, who gained some popularity with a few songs in the 70s), then brought some feel-good warm vibes, such as “Escape” and “It’s a Good Life” providing lyrics their fans could connect with. Slowing down for a bit, the Johannesburg-natives made the crowd sway with “Take Me Back” and “This Time I Won’t Forget”, but quickly switched gears, surprising them with “Come With Me Now”. Fans surely thought this chart topper would appear as part of their encore.
Showing their versatility, KONGOS performed an innovative rendition of “Eleanor Rigby” (the Beatles cover) and quickly moved into the smoke-filled – large smoke rings actually came shooting out into the crowd – “I’m Only Joking”.
It also seems as though they have some solid material down for their forthcoming third record, a follow-up to 2011’s Lunatic. The new songs “I Don’t Mind“ and “Take It From Me” felt like classic KONGOS tracks and fit perfectly into their set.
I was curious to see what they would dish out for an encore and was ultimately blown away as they powered through three creative covers, “Tokoloshe Man” (John Kongos cover), “Come Together” (the Beatles cover) with Mo Gordon (a mainstay rapper on their tour) and “Blue Monday” (New Order cover).
Overall it felt like a massive jam session filled with big hits, playful solos, lighthearted banter, a special guest and unique covers. Being in Montreal for the third time, they are certainly starting to feel comfortable in this city.
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Review by Sean Carlin | @seancarlin89