May 22, 2017

Kongos Greet Vancouver Imperial with South African Jam

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KONGOS Greet Vancouver with South African Jam
written by Conor Graham

An hour before show time at the Imperial the crowd was quite slim, but buzzing with as much anticipation as any crowd of that size could. I went to the bar and ordered a drink from a bartender who was offering doubles to every person who approached him. By the time KONGOS opener, Wooden Horsemen took the stage the crowd had rounded out.

With a perpetually impressive one-man horn section and a lead guitarist that was unfairly stuck into a corner because of The Imperial’s surprisingly shallow stage, the Wooden Horseman took the crowd’s attention before they even knew anyone had started playing. Once the crowd caught up with the performance going on on stage, they fell into the sweet Spanish-influenced grooves of “Be A Friend” and shook their heads like a bunch of metal fans to the hard blues of “Always Running.” With no hesitation, Wooden Horseman brought their “grounded party” to the Imperial’s rough Gastown setting.

KONGOS greeted a crowd that was in good spirits as evidenced by the fact a middle-aged woman brought a joint into the crowd and was passing it around to the chagrin of the Imperial’s lovely staff. The first thing I noticed (other than KONGO’s stellar performance) was how good the light show that accompanied said performance was. Strobing and flashing, building anticipation through darkness and then exploding into light just as a song reached its crescendo. The light show and the video screen behind the band it was paired with, set the perfect mood for the entirety of KONGOS performance.

It was great to finally see KONGOS live, for one thing, it was cool to see how an accordion could be integrated into a live rock performance but also it was great to see how each member kept switching up instruments. From Jesse Kongos singing lead from behind the drum set to Daniel and Dylan Kongos near constant exchange of the bass and lead guitar duties, there was a clear chemistry within the band that had an effect on the audience throughout the performance.

I hadn’t realized before I saw KONGOS live that their music was so well suited to the dance floor, “Repeat After Me”, “I Don’t Mind”, “I Want It Free” and “Kids These Days” all had the crowd dancing and stomping along to the music like they were four beers deep at an Irish pub on karaoke night. Besides the main set of KONGOS hits they surprised even me when they pulled out covers of The Beatles “Get Back” which they turned into a full on jam session and New Order’s “Blue Monday” which sounded just awesome played in their South African alt-rock style.

Fans might have had to wait four years between the release of Lunatic and Egomaniac but once KONGOS finally got back into the swing of things they delivered so if KONGOS happen to ever come back through Vancouver grab a ticket and don’t miss out.

Solid performance. Check out Kongos on Facebook

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written by Conor Graham



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