Earlier this week, I came across some amazing live go-go videos from the late 80's and early 90's on YouTube. Growing up near D.C. (I lived an hour away), I can remember as a kid on one particular occasion seeing a flurry of kids in go-go bands playing on every corner, homemade junk percussion in tow and some insanely intense, rich grooves. It's the sub-genre's distinctive rhythms that drive the music into something focused almost purely on the percussive interplay and call-and-response participation; describing the sound is difficult to put into words, but once you hear it, you know what go-go is.
The style has been intensely regional, very rarely breaking through to the mainstream outside of D.C., save for maybe E.U.'s "Da Butt" being used in Spike Lee's School Daze or Amerie's 00's R&B hit (and best pop song of the last decade, in my opinion) "1 Thing." I was a little oblivious to go-go as the 90's and 00's wore on, but looking back and listening/watching these performances, I'm struck by just how intensely gritty and funky these bands were in the genre's prime. Enjoy:
Chuck Brown And The Soul Searchers:
And not a video, just audio, but one of my favorite go-go jams from the 90's: