This Friday Denver welcomed South African siblings KONGOS back to LoDo for the second time in less than a month. After making their Mile High debut at KTCL's "Kegs & Eggs" in March, the band has only continued to skyrocket up the charts, topping out at #1 on the Alternative chart this past week. Their radio single "Come With Me Now" may be a raucous, foot stomping sing-along, but their show this past Friday proved that this band of brothers has so much more to offer.
This show felt somewhat spontaneous, only being announced days after their March performance in town, but the city wasted no time in scooping up tickets. If I remember correctly, every last one was sold within a week and a half's time, which is not an easy feat for any act! Something surprising to me at this show was the vast variances in the audience's ages. Most acts with this much radio play tend to lend themselves to a slightly younger audience, but I'd be lying if I wasn't surprised by the number of folks I saw at the show who were certainly a generation or two older than I. I'm not sure if it has anything to do with the band's father, John Kongos, who had his own musical career in the 70's in the UK, or if it simply is the diversity of their sound; needless to say I was impressed.
The band took stage with haste promptly at 9:45 after an elongated changeover. Something I was not keen to prior to this show was the obscurity of the band's stage layout. With all four brothers playing a multitude of instruments throughout the evening, it requires their on stage layout to be slightly different than normal. Lead vocal duties were commonly traded throughout the evening between drummer Jesse and (primarily) bass guitarist Dylan, which meant that the drum kit was placed fairly forward and center on stage as opposed to their traditional position in the background. To give you an idea of how the set went, you have Jesse on drums, who swaps main vocal duties with Dylan, who keeps trading between bass guitar and electric guitar with Danny, who sings backing vocals alongside the last brother, Johnny, who spends his time switching between accordion solos and backing keyboard tracks. Your brain hurt yet? It may be confusing to read, but let me promise you that this type of raw musicality was incredible to watch live.
As if they're performing abilities weren't enough, the band chose to showcase a variety of covers and mashups throughout their set. Featuring a jazz instrumental piece, two Beatles' rap/Daft Punk mashups, and their own very unique sound to top it off. My personal favorite tracks are the somewhat spooky "I'm Only Joking", sing along "I Want to Know", and the generationally conscious track "Kids These Days".
It'll be awhile until the group is back in Denver, but I guarantee you that this is not the last we've seen on the Brothers Kongos. With a unique sound and some serious musical talent, their unique presence is a welcome addition to radio rotation. Their record "Lunatic" was just recently re-released in the US, and is available on iTunes and Spotify.