The Congress: New Jam That Rocks
Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock (phatphlogblog.blogspot.com)
Jumping back into our series about emerging jam bands that deserve our attention, I would like to write a little about The Congress. The Congress is a rock-infused act from Denver, Colorado, who have truly impressed me the couple of times I’ve caught them live. They incorporate elements of rock, blues, Southern styling, and jam to create a rich musical experience that is truly unique in our scene. Having only started touring in May of 2010, they have already created quite a name for themselves nationally through a full performance schedule and stellar musicianship. This past summer alone, they played at High Sierra, Wakarusa, Jazz Aspen Snowmass, Groovefest, Targhee Fest, and The Pearl St. Jam Festival. The fact that they’ve had such extensive inclusion in this wide array of prestigious and well-known fests is a testament to how big of a splash they’ve made in the world of jam. The Congress put out their self-titled EP in March of 2010 with plans for their first album to be released in the beginning of 2012. Saying they’ve had a busy year and a half would be an understatement. Jonathan Meadows who takes the role of lead singer is perhaps the most striking member of the band. His vocals are simply stunning with a clean and refreshing delivery that adds a component of brilliance. Their original songs which are mainly collaborated on by Meadows and lead guitarist and backing vocalist Scott Lane demonstrate not only a fresh approach but also a reverence for the bands that influenced their gritty, raw, and yet somehow polished sound.
Originally hailing from Richmond, Virginia, Lane and Meadows were consistently gigging and had been leading a local jam session under the name The Grove. They focused on a more psychedelic rock sound. It was when Lane moved out to Colorado for music school that he urged Meadows to make the transition out as well. It took him a year but the night that Meadows arrived in town, Lane had already scheduled a gig for them. And the rest is history as they say. They have been putting on great shows on The Front Range and around the country ever since.
The first show of The Congress that I caught was when they opened up for moe. in Breckenridge as part of the Spring Fever festivities. Snow was blowing across Peak 8 as they took the stage. Kids were filtering in from the gondola and the slopes as The Congress began their incredible set of music. Like moths to a musical flame, the crowd filled in rather quickly. Meadows or rather his voice stole the show. I was in awe from the moment he began singing. There was an amazing juxtaposition between their coarse Southern rock sound and his melodic vocal tone. It was truly an impressive to watch. They ended their show with a funky version of the Talking Heads’ “This Must Be The Place (Naïve Melody)”.
These guys work hard and they deserve everything that they get. In my humble opinion, it’s only a mater of time before they are playing bigger and bigger festivals if they continue to wow audiences across the country. I look forward to their forthcoming studio album, and if you are in Denver, you can catch their last headlining gig at Cervantes’ Other Side on 11-11-11. It’s sure to be a great show and definitely worth the trip.