Indie Week Canada Spotlight: Kumonga

Indie Week Canada is in full swing and with venues and bands competing for everyone's attention, it may be difficult for someone to decide, for instance, what gigs to go see. Ideally, you could attend a bunch and spend your entire week in pubs, bars, and concert halls enjoying the music, but if you're anything like me, your boss may not appreciate it. So who should you bother checking out? I've done some digging and turns out that right here under my own nose, there is a great band that is reminiscent of quite a few of my favorite bands. 

What do you get when you cross the sonic styling of old school rock'n'roll with the vocal capabilities of the best rock acts of the past few decades? In short, Toronto-based band Kumonga.

I got my hands on a copy of Kumonga's self-titled record through their new drummer, the hard hitting human metronome Andrew Zenti. If the name sounds familiar it's because Andrew was once the drummer for up and coming Toronto metal band Warmachine, and then went on to play over 500 shows with the Aerosmith tribute Mama Kin. With endorsements from Los Cabos Drumsticks, Kickport, and Soultone Cymbals, there's no doubt that Kumonga's new drummer brings the band some serious street cred.

The band's lead singer, Danny Walters, definitely has the vocal chops to keep the listener intrigued. Songs like "Miles Away", "Here Come The Spiders", and "Look Out Below" easily give you the impression that Kumonga's sound is part funk, part soul, and all rock'n'roll. His live performances prove that his enthusiasm is not just confined to the studio recordings. If you doubt me, check out the video below.

Guitarist Staci Patten is a mainstay of the Toronto rock scene, and his carefully crafted melodic lines and solos give the band's record an "old school" vibe but doesn't make the songs sound dated. Instead, with the monotonous sounds you've been hearing on your local radio station, if you still listen to the radio, Staci's groove-based playing serves as a perfect compliment to the keyboard work by Walters and the bass lines that Stephane Debernardi chugs along with. This is most obvious on "Never Seen a Thing", which is a head-bopping, grooving tune that is very reminiscent of a song that Wilson Pickett would feel at home singing. 

Overall, Kumonga's record serves as a great driving CD, and should keep your groove thang going on repeat. Do yourself a favor and catch Kumonga on Friday, October 17, 2014 at Cherry Cola's in Toronto, as a part of Indie Week. You won't be sorry. Have I been wrong yet? Exactly. And in any case, what's not to love about a band that has a giant gorilla as it's main iconography? 

Check out Kumonga on Facebook, YouTube, Bandcamp, and Sonicbids, as well as on their website.