Photography by: Adam R. Harrison
Words by: Adam R. Harrison
“Take it from me,” if you weren’t at the Blue Jays game Sunday night, you wanted to spend Thanksgiving in Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall with the brothers Kongos as they filled the room to every nook and crevice with their unique blend of kwaito-style alternative rock. From the opening notes of “Repeat After Me,” the four brothers from South Africa had the attention of the room, not only with their mesmerizing instrumentals, but also perfected production for a venue of that size.
There is something to be said about family bands, because much like Kings of Leon, the four brothers of Kongos have a tight bond that shines through in their live performance. As if to say, we’re from the same blood so we’ll never miss a beat.
Bass player and baby face, Dylan Kongos, is perhaps the most engaging as he whips his luscious locks around while bouncing on a carpet in his bare feet. However, unlike a typical band, there is no focus on a front man in Kongos, each brother shares the limelight and lead vocals across their catalogue of beguiling tunes. Almost all of which incorporated unique instrumental breaks, including slide guitar from Daniel Kongos, deep drumbeats from Jesse Kongos, and groovy accordion from Johnny Kongos.
Kongos are currently touring for their latest album, Egomaniac, the follow up to their breakthrough 2012 album, Lunatic, both of which are extraordinary from start to finish. So needless to say the 90-minute set was full of highlights. The ever-so-catchy “Hey I Don’t Know” was one of the firsts, with moving spotlights illuminating each brother as they showed off their mad skills. Of course hot singles like “Come With Me Now” and “Take It From Me” had the crowd on their toes, phones waving in video mode and rightfully so as the singles were executed to perfection.
Mid-way through the set we were treated to an unexpected cover of “Get Back.” However contrasting a basic, straightforward cover that attempts to sound as close to the original as possible, Kongos turned this Beatles classic into a whole new song filled with kwaito rhythms and even hip hop melodies.
Rings of smoke shot into the crowd as audience and band members alike jumped in unison to the pounding beats of “I’m Only Joking,” keeping us on our toes for an encore. The grand finale was another pleasantly surprising Kongos-style cover, this time of New Order’s “Blue Monday.”
At the end of the concert, the Toronto audience was not only giving thanks for a sweep of the Texas Rangers, but also a night full of great live music that left us in anticipation of the next time we could experience this immensely talented family. If Kongos continue this musical brilliance, don’t be surprised if next time is on a much larger stage in front of 20,000 people. “Take it from me.”