I was looking forward to December 17th for a good long while, I even bought tickets to see KONGOS as soon as they went on sale back in September. I didn’t think I could be more excited, until the supporting acts were announced; with Saintfearless and Machineri completing the lineup, the night could truly be nothing short of awesome – and so it was.
First time I heard KONGOS was with the epic I’m Only Joking back in June and they’ve been getting loads of radioplay since. SA is really embracing the band and rightfully so; I’ve never seen the Assembly as full as early as it was – and with a totally different crowd too, of all ages and descriptions, the hipster regulars seemingly in the minority.
Saintfearless kicked things off, pretty much literally – as usual, they were right up in the crowd’s faces, leaning on the barricade and constantly jumping around the stage. High energy and highly entertaining as ever, they’re always a blast to watch and get my vote as one of the best live bands of the year.
Machineri slowed things down a bit up next. I’ve always enjoyed watching them too though there is something undeniably strange about the band. My mom was standing next to me (she loves KONGOS and was very impressed with Saintfearless too) and, while she was as transfixed by Sannie Fox as the rest of the room, she complained that she couldn’t hear any of the lyrics. As if on queue, Sannie made the announcement “If you can’t hear what I’m saying, because my diction is really bad, you can buy our CD and read all the lyrics”. I thought that was pretty funny (and the fact that I had I to repeat it to my mom was even funnier).
The anticipation was palpable as KONGOS took to the stage. A girl behind us was screaming as if possessed and the guys next to her were shouting requests before the band had even made their way to their instruments.
Their set exploded open with In the music, standout opening track from their self-titled 2007 debut album, and went on to include most of their new album Lunatic including crowd-pleasers Come with me now and Hey I don’t know (why don’t you tell me?) as well as some Beatles covers. Bordering on reggae, their versions of Come Together and Eleanor Rigby were simultaneously really odd and pretty damn cool; it took a while for the crowd to recognise them, but once they did, everyone was singing along.
By the time massive hit I’m Only Joking reared its head I was sure the crowd would’ve been too hoarse to scream any louder – I was wrong, their fervour just intensified and I bet there wasn’t a closed mouth in the room.
An awesome set from a super cool band. They released Lunatic early for us lucky South Africans – I haven’t stopped listening to it and rate it’ll be one of the best albums of 2012. I am sorry though that they didn’t really explore the same sinister undertones of I’m Only Joking anywhere else on the album, but there are enough other great tracks to make up for that.
I hope 2012 is the year the world takes notice, KONGOS really deserve it.
It almost felt like KONGOS were going to come back for an encore, but the crowd had been surprisingly delayed in their cries for more and the stage guys had already started packing everything up…which is why the sudden appearance from Jeremy Loops came as doubly surprising. He came out of nowhere and blasted out a quick harmonica stomper which went down a treat and helped go somewhere towards appeasing the insatiable crowd.
DJ Sideshow then took over and kept the dancing going late into the night.
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(if you haven’t heard these guys yet, do so immediately)