Though the go-go scene saw a downturn several years ago, Rare Essence (above) played the newly reopened Howard Theatre in June.
The Howard Theatre’s willingness to host go-gos also could signal a renewed willingness on the part of promoters and high-end club owners to put the genre’s difficult past behind it.
Go-go has also returned elsewhere in the city.
TCB Band has played the Rock N Roll Hotel, while NoMa hot spots Fur Nightclub and Ibiza have hosted regular go-gos by Rare Essence, Junk Yard Band and Backyard Band, which is fronted by Anwan “Big G” Glover, who played the gangster-philosopher Slim Charles on HBO’s “The Wire.”
Big public events have also begun to re-embrace the city’s music. During the annual Safeway Barbecue Battle Festival in June, organizers — who for years included Brown on their bill — opened up its stages to a variety of go-go acts, including Trouble Funk as well as newer “grown and sexy go-go” acts such as Be’La Donna, Mambo Sauce and Suttle Thoughts. And the Chuck Brown Tribute Band will be one of the headliners in August’s Summer Spirit Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion, sharing the stage with the likes of Common, Erykah Badu and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.
And as the city’s demographics go through tectonic shifts, its not only important for natives to hold on to what makes Hometown D.C. what it is, but also for our newest neighbors to find out.
And don’t mind any frowns natives may give you — they’re just jealous that you’re getting to experience the thrill of your first go-go.
“It’s like meeting someone who says they love movies but then admit to not having seen Casablanca … you’re a bit envious because they may still get to enjoy it for the first time,” Ronayne said.