KONGOS Headline Show in Minneapolis, MN
By Lesa Browning
Last night windows were rattling and floors were shaking in downtown Minneapolis. No, it was not an earthquake, KONGOS were in town! Playing the recently renovated AIG owned venue, Mill City Nights, these four ultra talented brothers rocked the night away. Born in South Africa, raised in London, the brothers Kongos currently call Arizona home. Although for the the foreseeable future, home will be a tour bus as they bring their music to the masses on multiple tours in the US and Europe. Having played many recent festival stages, last night’s show was one of a few small venue headliners for the foursome before they begin touring with Kings of Leon & Young The Giant. KONGOS will follow this up with a fall tour supporting One Republic in Europe. I suspect this time next year the band will be playing in much larger quarters, so this was a great opportunity to enjoy them in such an intimate setting.
Doors opened at 8:00 and their opening act, Blondfire, started at 8:30. The KONGOS were on stage by 9:30. Opening with the hard hitting sounds from drummer Jesse Kongos, the guys brought instant energy to the stage. With only one US album released to date, the band played pretty much all of it, to the delight of their fans. At least a couple new songs were sprinkled among the familiar Lunatic offerings. Take It From Me, a song I heard them play at Edgefest in Dallas was played last night and sounded great, the audience danced along with the band. The guys also offered up a brand new song that no one had heard before. When the crowd cheered before the first lyric was even sung, frontman Dylan Kongos pretty much told us to calm down because we might hate it. But like everything else offered up by this fantastic foursome, the new song I Don’t Mind looks to have instant approval from the fans. Maybe those of us that have been following them from the beginning are just jonsin’ for new tunes, but I would like to think that these new offerings really are great. The guys were joined by a special guest “Mozart” who really got the crowd going with a remix of The Beatles’ Come Together. Daniel Kongos had a particularly good time with this one.
Anyone who has been following this site for a while, surely knows that I have some serious KONGOS appreciation. Contrary to popular opinion after the KONGOS Edgefest fiasco (you can relive that insanity here: https://musicmixdaily.com/?s=KONGOS), I am no groupie. But I am a serious fan of their music and collective talent. There is something special about the music these four young brothers make. From the first time I was introduced to them, via the now incredibly popular song I’m Only Joking, I have not just wanted more but also wanted to make sure everyone else got a good dose of KONGOS! What is it that makes them special? For me it starts with the drums and the incredible talent that is Jesse Kongos. He is mesmerizing to watch. Then there is Johnny Kongos who contributes not only on keys but also that incredible accordion. Danny Kongos on the guitar may seem reserved to some, but he seamlessly switches between his instruments and is very creative. (and the man is also a photographer!) Finally we have Dylan Kongos, lead vocals and also guitar. He has a special way with the crowd and when he is jamming on stage in his bare feet, the fans just go wild. I stop just shy of calling Dylan the frontman formally as most people would. It is not that I don’t think he is amazing and deserving of the title, he is. But I truly think all four of these guys play a huge role in creating the perfect musical storm. The brothers write songs independently and then come together to arrange and record them. Their diversity surely contributes to the variety we hear on their album and ensures no two things are ever the same. The perfectionism of the group is evident in the very well written, emotionally laden lyrics and musical arrangements. Individually they are each great and I could go on and on. (and you all know that sometimes I do just that!) But collectively they are unstoppable.
It would not be a Lesa Browning review if I did not tell you how the night ended. This night was special because we had a chance to hang around and talk to the KONGOS after the show. I already knew from my Dallas experience that they were nice guys. (or just extremely charitable??) But last night confirmed it. I brought along a friend of mine who was completely new to their music. By the end of the night she wanted to talk to the band and had the chance to do so, newly purchased CD and tee shirt in hand. (quickly autographed by all four guys) I also stood back and watched them do some really nice things. They signed an iPhone for a young fan, answered endless questions. They even dug around for a few guitar picks when a couple guys asked and then proceeded to initial them too. Those fans were all thrilled. As I promised in my last write up, I was a grown up. No crazy chattering melt downs, nothing silly to report. I just had a couple quick words with each band member before making my way down to the end where Jesse was hanging out. You know I had to ask for a photograph, it is sort of what I do when I meet bands after a concert. (duh) What good is this gig of traveling around to write about music if I can’t scrounge up some cool photos?? So I decided to just ask Jesse as he was at the quiet end of the mob. He graciously agreed to take a photo with me and thinking we would take a quick shot I looked to my friend who held my iPhone. She suggested I wait just a moment and then took the photo. It was only then that I realized that Jesse had quickly gathered his brothers and I walked away with a photo of the whole group. (yes, it is dark and grainy, as all my photos are from last night. It was just a light challenged environment) This seemed a very nice gesture, I was certainly not expecting it, but I appreciated it.
Final thoughts? Get out to see the KONGOS people! Buy their music on www.iTunes.com! They are amazing rockers with music and lyrics that will grab you and not let go. You have no excuses, they are touring like crazy. I am a little embarrassed to say that I have four scheduled events this year where the KONGOS will be playing. (Vegas and Sacramento alongside Kings of Leon, Austin City Limits Music Festival and in Prague alongside One Republic) For the record, I was attending these shows before it was announced that KONGOS would be part of the line up. Icing, pure icing : )
Find tour dates, new music info, videos, photos and more at : www.KONGOS.com