Sister Sledge said it best, “We are Family…”, except in the case of the band the Kongos, it’s all about brothers. The Kongos hail from Arizona by way of South Africa, and their childhood roots have seemingly bestowed upon these four siblings the gift of deep, heavy rhythms with their drum-centered rock. There is an incredible cohesion that sets them apart from other bands, as the music is literally in their blood.
The brothers Kongo are a talented bunch of men; guitarist Daniel Kongos, bass and slide guitarist Dylan Kongos, drummer Jesse Kongos and Johnny Kongos who does it up on accordion and keyboards. Aside from sharing vocal and songwriting credits, the band creates a self-contained music-making machine by doing their own recording, engineering, making their own videos and using vigilante marketing tactics that includes their own podcast as well as a ten episode web series, “Bus Call”, centered around their life on the road, “We finally left our label,” singer-guitarist Daniel Kongos declared from the stage,. “We were at a point of, just, ‘fuck this business.'”
With three albums under their belt including Egomaniac (2016) and Lunatic (2014), and the latest epic album 1929, which will be fully released this month (though the band has been slowly releasing songs via their website.) The tour set off at SF’s Great American Music Hall Wednesday evening, a venue that creates an amazing intimacy between musician and fan. From the first notes to the last, the Kongos set the mood for the night with music that is uplifting, vibrant, fun and buoyant in a way that cuts right through you. The band’s music spans the gamut of genres, pop, blues, Zydeco, Eastern, electronic, African and pure rock. After opening with the blues rocker “I Am Not Me”, the Kongos jump started the night with the danceable groove of “The World Would Run Better” Peppering their set with new songs sa well as the mega-pop hits such as “Hey I Don’t Know”, “Pay For The Weekend” and the foot-stomper “Come With Me Now”, the Kongos dug deep into their amazing catalogue of great songs and ended the night with the encores of the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” and “I’m Only Joking”,
Up until about two weeks ago, I had not heard of the Kongos.But upon discovering them I was immediately hooked on the music they create. With those hard-driving rhythms and throbbing beats molded into a modern vibe, the band has now created a new and rabid fan in me.