New Congress

The New Congress

Friday, December 1st

The Tap Room

Andrew Olson

Reader Weekly

At the 26th Annual Minnesota Music Awards ceremony this year there were many winners from the Northland. One big one, The New Congress, plays this weekend up here and is one group not to miss. Winners for Best R&B Group and Best R&B Song for their new hit, “Everybody Gets Up”, they are on the rise now.

It all began with a group called Crazy Betty. They were once a huge draw around town before splitting off in two separate directions. One led to accolades, Prince andMinneapolis while the other ended up becoming one of the hottest bands in Duluth .. The Alrights. Former drummer of Crazy Betty, and current drummer of The Alrights,Chad "Chavo" Amborn tells the story, "Crazy Betty's break up was pretty simple, the band had been together for many years and started growing apart musically. Basically the band was running on fumes to keep things going. We all agreed the material was good but we also had other projects we wanted to pursue. We felt a breakup was inevitable, but each had a tint of fear regarding the risk to leave something already established. It wasn’t until we finally went through with it that we all realized how much more we could contribute to ourselves and the world listening in two separate projects. The Alrights (Danny, Toby and I) went off on a different angle while Russ and Aaron moved to the cities and put together The New Congress. Relationships remain fine. No hard feelings and we all wish each other the best of luck in our new endeavors."

Chavo was nervous when the Alrights opened for The New Congress awhile back at the Tap Room. He talked of the skills that the New Congress’s drummer, Mario Dawson had from his studies at UC Berkeley in California . A lot of old Crazy Betty tunes showed up, but the sound of The New Congress is a mix of funk, jazz, and hip-hop. It sounds like something chrome and shiny that you feel like you should have to pay a fortune to see. This is partially because when Russ King (Keyboards, Back-Up Vocals, formerly of Crazy Betty) and Orange AC (Lead Guitars, Lead Vocals, formerly of Crazy Betty) moved to Minneapolis and hooked up with Kip Blackshire of Prince and the New Power Generation big things happened. Like when JBLZ (Bass, Back-Up Vocals, formerly of Prince and the New Power Generation) joined the New Congress. Then throw in DJ Dudley, Prince's DJ, and you have the tightest sound that the Tap Room has probably ever seen on a Friday night.

The New Congress is the house band of Bunkers in Minneapolis and play every Thursday night. They have entertained private parties at Prince's recording studio,Paisley Park , and on the Musicology tour, as well as sharing the stage with Prince himself and major label showcases in Hollywood . It was interesting to watch The Alrights and then The New Congress play on the same evening. Toby of The Alrights and Orange AC were the former writers for Crazy Betty. The Alrights have taken a more Maroon 5/Beatlesish modern rock sound while The New Congress emphasizes more jazzy hip sounds of the city. Both have sprinkles of Prince, but in very different ways. As they branch off in separate directions it will be interesting to see where each band ends up.

Visit for more info and to hear some of The New Congress’s music for free. You can also purchase their new album, Everybody Gets Up there also.