Written by Greg Ackerman
South Africans by way of Arizona, KONGOS made a stop at Austin venue, Emo’s Saturday evening in support of their new record, “Egomaniac.” The four brothers Daniel, Dylan, Jesse and Johnny play alternative rock but it’s a far cry from conventional music. Primal drums combine with funk and rock elements to make a fan-accessible sound unique to the talented musical siblings.
Following an energetic set from Wales’ The Joy Formidable, KONGOS took the stage with dark, dramatic lighting. Opening with songs from the new album, all four the members were set-up on the edge of the stage, signaling to fans that no member was deemed more significant than the others.
A cover of The Beatles’ “Get Back” made an appearance, featuring tour manager Mo Gordon rapping in the middle of the song which KONGOS adapted as their own, turning the classic tune into a funky dance-version complete with distorted bass lines and the crowd singing the chorus with real fervor.
Hit song, “Come With Me Now” made a set list appearance two songs later to roars of approval from the Emo’s audience. The catchy chorus made the song feel like a rock anthem similar to early recordings of The White Stripes.
“Take It From Me” featured appealing bottleneck guitar solos from Dylan who is also adept at lap steel guitar. With Johnny frequently playing accordion, KONGOS instrumentation revealed the many influences coloring the band’s work. Blues, folk and world music also weaves its way into the band’s sound.
A multi-song encore spotlighted a cover of Depeche Mode’s “How Does It Feel.” Once again, KONGOS transformed the tune into their own translating the 80s hit into a current version underlining the point – KONGOS make an amalgam of music as unique as their origin.