Photo credit: Tim Dwenger | www.timdwenger.com
Like most music lovers, I can’t get enough live music. Recently I’ve gone from a casual concert goer to having a full on addiction for shows. I find myself on the computer daily searching for great upcoming shows to go to. There’s so many different things to love about sitting in a venue and watching an artist perform their music. Going to all these shows has also grown my playlist quite a bit. One of my favorite parts of going to shows has got to be the openers. Finding new, young, amazing artists just starting their careers. You can see the hunger in these bands eyes. Lately I’ve seen a string of performers who brought the house down even more than the bands they were opening for. Recently The Bohemian Blog has published articles about bands like St. Paul and the Broken Bones, and Family and Friends. Well I have another Band to add to this collection.
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The Congress performing at Buckhead Theatre[/caption]
[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]Going to see one of my favorite bands of late, Lake Street Dive, anticipations were high. I love their jazz/soul style and Rachel Price’s amazingly smooth voice. So knowing how incredible they were going to be I never thought their opener could snag my attention for the night. But a band called The Congress did just that. A four member band out of Virginia/Denver includes Jonathan Meadows (Bass, Vocals), Scott Lane (Guitarist), Chris "Bernie" Speasmaker (Keys), and Mark Levy (percussion). This band is an amazing combination of soul and southern rock. Their sound brings you back to when southern rock and Motown soul were at their peak.[/ezcol_2third_end]
Meadows and Levy come together to create a very well rounded rhythm. With rock and funk, they hold down great vibes in each song. Scott Lane is an excellent guitar player. He gives this band their signature rock sound. With hypnotizing solos, he is one of the best unknown guitarists around. Speasmaker brings the funk and soul sound to the music. Blending with Scott’s guitar playing, he adds his own highlights to each jam. This band has four fantastic musicians and a sound I’m constantly searching for.
[ezcol_2third]Still, as great as all of this is, it’s all overshadowed by Jonathan Meadows’ voice. Powerful, soulful, and with so much range, Meadows has one of those once in a generation voices. From his first note he had my attention. With a big red beard, and a baseball cap, I thought, “There’s no way that’s really that guy’s voice. This has to be some Ashlee Simpson lip syncing trick right?” It was not. Bringing a powerful southern rock tone to the mic one moment, then just as easily switching to an incredible soul voice an instant later. At two different moments in the show Jonathan was standing side by side with Rachel Price of Lake Street Dive singing songs together. Now in my opinion Rachel Price has one of the best voices to come out in the past 15 years. I thought there is no way that this guy stands a chance at owning these songs when she is on stage. Oh how wrong I was. Matching every note, Meadows gave a flawless performance throughout his entire show.[/ezcol_2third] [ezcol_1third_end]
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The Congress performing with Lake Street Dive[/caption]
This band is something to look for in the future. A group I expect to see headlining their own tour soon. The Congress has two albums of original music, The Congress (self-titled), and Whatever You Want. While both of these are great works of music with a lot of good songs, I do have to send your attention to a cover album they did called The Loft Tape. It has seven songs which are all equally incredible pieces of music. It probably best highlights Meadows’
voice and gives you all the southern soulful Motown rock you could ask for. Take a moment today to avoid doing work and kick back and relax to The Congress. Trust me it’s what the soul needs.