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Kongos rocks the Liberty Stage with tight, infectious aural landslide

David Hiltbrand
POSTED: SUNDAY, AUGUST 31, 2014, 5:22 PM


Kongos, who played on the Liberty Stage, is a group made up of four brothers from Phoenix by way of their native South Africa. They are four sons of John Kongos, the South African rocker who hit the U.S. charts a couple of times in the 1970s (think: "He's Gonna Step on You Again"). The family connection may partly explain their sound, which is tighter than shrink wrap. They play an infectious brand of whatever passes for swamp boogie in Johannesburg.

Of course they add their own alien elements. On “Kids These Days,” Johnny Kongos delivered what must have been the festival’s first accordion solo. And it was pretty avant garde.

Kongos’ full-tilt approach recalled Philly rockers Marah. “I’m Only Joking” rolled on a thundering Adam and the Ants beat.

Oddly, the brothers seemed least enthused about playing their finale, the breakout hit “Come With Me.” Fortunately, it’s an aural landslide of a song that doesn’t require much enthusiasm to produce its fierce impetus.

It's lucky the Liberty Stage wasn’t in use after their performance. Kongos are an impossibkle act to follow.

— Dan DeLuca