The latest installment of 94/7's "I Saw Them When" concert series got off to a slightly bittersweet start on Tuesday night, as Portlanders crowding into the Crystal Ballroom were treated to what turned out to be The Ecstatics farewell show in Portland. Having been a consistent fixture on Portland's concert scene and a regular opener at 94/7 shows, teenage rockers Eli & Quincy explained that they're moving to Los Angeles to pursue their music. Throughout their set (which was just as catchy & energetic as the last two times we've covered them in this blog), the boys took time to thank their fans and pay tribute to 94/7 as "the best radio station on the planet," before closing their set with a hilariously unexpected - but very apt - cover of Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream." Best of luck to you, guys, and to paraphrase Ms. Perry - "Don't ever look back, don't ever look back"... but we do hope you'll come back to visit, once in a while.
KONGOS is a difficult band to write about, only because their influences are impossible to pin down. One minute, they sound like Kings of Leon if they stole the accordion player from Dropkick Murphys; the next, you'll hear hints of blues, reggae, or even Muse-esque rock operatics. One thing is consistent, however - these four brothers know how to rock. For their set at The Crystal, the South African rockers led the crowd through a raucous, floor-stomping set. The band likes to pay tribute to their roots, too - during their encore, they covered their dad, John Kongos' 70's track, "Tokoloshe Man" (allegedly their dad was in the audience, too), along with The Beatle's "Come Together" and "Get Back" (although the latter two included guest vocals by Phoenix rapper Moe'z Art, along with samples from Dr. Dre's "Ain't Nothing But a G Thang" and Daft Punk's "Da Funk").
With bands that are as eclectic as KONGOS, music journalists have a tendency to make all kinds of outlandish comparisons... and we're not above the fray, in that regard. If you forced me to compare KONGOS to any one band in terms of sheer style and energy, I'd have say they remind me most of Stillwater from the movie "Almost Famous" - which is pretty much the highest praise I can dish out for any band, actually.