Return to KONGOS


09 May 2014

by Nilabjo Banerjee

Ever gone to a show where you are more familiar with the opening bands than the headliner? No? Well, we have nothing in common then. I opted to make my CMW blogging debut at The Opera House where Zerbin and Dear Rouge were opening for some South African buzz band, Kongos. (only been a tad bit sarcastic about my unfamiliarity with the headliner)

Even if the name Zerbin doesn’t ring a bell, odds are you have heard their songs before, as evidenced by smartphones trying to shazaam songs in the set. The BC band, with Jason Zerbin and Peter Moi as the original nucleus, impressed those gathered with their roaring anthems from EPs Fool’s Gold and Touch. The multi-instrumentalism and soaring vocals amplified the trio’s sound that could fill corners of arenas. Even the band’s whistling skills was marvelous in the set closer ‘New Earth’, where Moi’s whistling could put Marc Foster’s whistling bridge during ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ to shame.

Dear Rouge gave the crowd what you expect from their set: indie-rock dance anthems and endearing energy from Danielle, the voice and the appeal of this West Coast band. Despite my second dose of the band within span of couple of months, I was still moving my feet to ‘I Heard I Had’, the single currently getting major alt-rock airplay. To get more hips swaying, the band threw in a solid Bowie cover of ‘Let’s Dance’, that got some couples in the crowd to get more than groovy. Never a dull moment at a Dear Rouge show.

The previously admitted unfamiliarity with Kongos aided my objectivity and approach to their music as a new fan. The South African quartet of brothers, introduced the accordion, the real star of the show, 2 songs deep in the set with a wicked solo during ‘Kids These Days’. Never would I have imagined headbangin to an accordion! The jazz-prog rock inspired set interlude had the band flashing their musical brilliance, and winning my undying affection by ending with stellar cover of Tom Wait’s, ‘Way Down in the Hole’. The loveable banter, amidst instrument swaps and tunings, was full of gratitude, with Dylan reminiscing the times when mom would be the only one singing lyrics in the crowd, as opposed to few hundred strangers. Impressive live sound + down to earth personas, Kongos, you’ve won me over.