It's a bit strange flying across the country to see a band that less than a year ago was playing at the Sail Inn and Apache Lake Music Festival. But honestly it almost seems like a completely different Kongos who opened up the main stage at Dover, Delaware's Firefly Music Festival on Friday, June 20. Of course, John Kongo's four handsome boys still look the same, but they are playing with a whole new level of confidence, and they are looking like rock stars doing it.
Obviously opening the main stage of a major American music festival is going to give a band a boost of swagger, and I'm sure it didn't hurt that just about a week before the festival it was announced that their song "Come With Me Now," was certified gold in the U.S.A. and platinum in Canada. But what obviously had the brothers Kongos feeling themselves was the attractive girl in the audience with the "Dylan Have My Babies" sign.
But the realization that Kongos was huge came well before they ever took the stage. The band's popularity became so much easier to believe when Firefly Festival goers were discussing them in the campground, some even going as far as playing the band's hit song while setting up camp and pre-gaming for their venue area entrance.
Seeing the local boys turned famous was surreal. No doubt the reactions to "Only Joking," which they played fourth, and "Come With Me Now," which they closed with, were bigger than the reactions to the rest of the tracks. But the East Coast Firefly crowd definitely knew some of the songs from a bit deeper within the Kongos catalog, like "Sex on the Radio," the second song of the 45-minute set; "Take It From Me," which was played seventh; and "It's a Good Life," right before "Come with Me Now."
The band even took the time to share a little surprise with the crowd when they brought out rapper Moezart to do a seriously interesting cover of The Beatles "Come Together," mixed with "Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang" by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. Kongos stuck to the fab four's version while Moezart went on his own hip-hop tangent and added his own flair to the Beatles' classic. I'm sure a true Beatlemaniac would have hated every second of it, but the Firefly crowd ate it up.
During the intro to "It's a Good Life" Dylan Kongos gave the crowd a little pep talk, telling them "This song is about letting go of all the bullshit in life, like school and work. Because that's why we come play festivals like this."
The familial four-piece stuck around Firefly long enough to catch the Foo Fighters before packing it in for their next destination. They're still hitting the road hard getting ready to tour with Kings of Leon. But they will be coming back to Phoenix in the end of September for the upcoming Summers End Music Festival, where Dylan assures they will be breaking in some new tunes for the more familiar Phoenix crowd.
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