On the 7th of September K.O.G. & The Zongo Brigade shook Sheffield’s O2 academy with the weight of a thousand stamps as they delivered their unique dancehall-ska-jazz-hip hop fusion sound to a packed room of all grinning, all dancing onlookers.
There’s one word for this band. Fun. Playfully limbering up before the show started, the K.O.G. gang delighted their audience with an incredibly original sound that sits within the (already solid) Sheffield ska scene but manages to knock things up a notch by infusing a traditional Ghanaian African beat, an ounce of rapping, bongo drums and a xylophone into the equation.
Sheffield is renowned for it’s impressive, home grown musical talent and the band’s mid gig shoutout to local ska ensemble Smiling Ivy (who were leaping around at the front) highlights the close, supportive bond between artists on the South Yorkshire music scene.
The two front men entertained the crowd no end with their boundless enthusiam, bumping around the stage to the African rhythms and miming out each chorus cruscendo with hand movements like a game of charades.
The band didn’t miss a beat, and nor did the audience, with everyone loosening up after a the first few songs and throwing themselves about to mirror the on stage energy.
A chiming xylophone solo midway through the set was refreshing to hear in place of the usual guitars and drums you hear at most gigs.
The lead singer (K.O.G. or Kweku Of Ghana) is a weird and wild creature, at one point stopping to perform an operatic solo, eyes closed, in a deep, church-like voice which as strange as it sounds, wasn’t out of place with parts of his performance so sincere and passionate it wasn’t dissimilar to hearing someone speaking in tongues.
Donning a pair of sunglasses from start to finish in the dark venue, the band’s co-front man MC Franz Von chanelled a playful hip hop swag throughout the performance whilst K.O.G. danced barefoot in an African print tunic and traditional beaded necklace which helped the audience visually fuse the genre juxtaposition of hip hop, African and ska sounds.
It was near impossible to get a shot of the band who were jerking left, right up and down the whole way through the set (but we just about managed it..). Definitely a testiment to the enduring energy of their performance!
Though brilliant on recording, this band has that wild, infectious, multi dimensional sound that can only be truly felt in live performance. Anyone who attended the gig will be sure to agree; these guys have earnt a room full of fans for life!
Written by Becca Linnard