Bands honor godfather of Go-Go, Chuck Brown

Do ya’ll like to dance? Hell, yeah!

Do ya’ll like to party? Hell, yeah!

Chuck Brown is the godfather of Go-Go, and who could turn down a chance to party with the man himself on his birthday?

Several artists gathered last Friday at the 9:30 Club to honor Brown. The sold-out show featured a variety of bands including EU (Experience Unlimited), Junkyard Band, 911 Entertainment and the godfather himself.

One of the District’s most obscure novelties, Go-Go brings together a wide array of musical genres including funk, jazz, Latin, hip-hop and soul, while at the same time relying heavily on audience participation with call and response tactics.

Originating in the 1970s, the style has since generated a dedicated following and is beginning to spread along the East Coast and into London.

But no city knows Go-Go like D.C. knows Go-Go.

At the concert, there was an intense respect for the roots of Go-Go, which are deeply embedded within Southeast D.C. During EU’s performance, when the stage prompted, “Is Southeast the real deal?” the audience shouted back, “Hell, yeah!”

Outside the venue, WPGC (95.5 FM) passed out petitions to get Brown inducted in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Inside, nobody was free from the unyielding grip of the drumbeat, while the audience danced the night away.

Well before the opening band took the stage, the primarily 20-something crowd was already hitting the dance floor.

Intense percussion set the mood for the night. With two extremely talented percussionists, one would almost want to stop dancing long enough to stand in awe of the wild beat.

“This is the hottest show in D.C.,” partygoer Dale Rogers said.

EU’s music was able to encourage the decent ladies to become a little less decent as they danced to “Da Butt,” encouraged to come on stage to wiggle their rumps.

The infectious beat of the Go-Go scene is credited to Brown. Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers released Bustin Loose in 1979, which brought a live band playing danceable music to an era dominated by disco and a single DJ on a stage. Chuck had already been around since the ’60s playing jazz and the like with Jerry Butler and the Earls of Rhythm.

In 1965 he joined Los Latinos, which gave him Latin influences, and released “Top 40 with a Latin flavor.”

In the mid-’80s, Chuck released Go-Go Swing, an album that bought him name recognition overseas. Ever since, Go-Go has drawn larger crowds of different ages while drawing cameo appearances by major artists.

Bones from WPGC (95.5) avowed, “People don’t appreciate (Go-Go music) until they see it live.”

Bones is right. You don’t know Go-Go until you see a Go-Go show.

If that is not an option, check out Brown’s new release, Your Game: Live At 9:30 Club Washington D.C., which is packed with as much energy as one could expect from a Go-Go legend.

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