D.C.’s embattled go-go scene is getting organized


A new go-go concert flyer adopts an urgent tone. (Photo by Chris Richards)

If you parked your car anywhere near the network of nightclubs off Queens Chapel Road NE last weekend, you may have returned to your vehicle to find a bouquet of colorful party flyers jammed beneath the windshield wipers. Even in the social media age, this is how many local concert and event promoters still do business.

Last weekend, one postcard-sized flyer — for an MLK-weekend go-go megaconcert at Echostage featuring Rare Essence, Sugar Bear and E.U., Suttle Thoughts and Da Mixx Band — stood out.

“GO-GO LIVES,” it read. “CELEBRATING OUR HISTORY. OUR MUSIC. OUR CULTURE.”

That kind of resolute language doesn’t appear on too many flyers, but Washington’s embattled go-go scene has adopted a more urgent posture in recent months. Promoters in the District and Prince George’s County feel that their events have been targeted by local authorities, leaving go-go bands struggling to find reliable gigs.

Local activist Ron Moten hopes to address these concerns through D.C. M.U.S.I.C., a community group which recently began hosting a series of town hall-style meetings to discuss the preservation of go-go music. The gatherings have been attended by various scene leaders, artists and promoters, but Moten is still hoping to mobilize more go-go fans.

“We realize that it’s not just the bands and the promoters that are being affected — the patrons are being affected,” Moten says. “So it’s time for everybody to come together and address the issue in a positive way.”

The next D.C. M.U.S.I.C. meeting will be held at Busboys and Poets on 14th and V St. N.W. on Monday, Jan. 20 at 4:30 p.m.

An earlier version of this post misstated the date of Rare Essence’s performance at Echostage. The band performs on Sunday, Jan. 19.

Chris Richards became the Post's pop music critic in 2009. He has covered D.I.Y. house shows, White House concerts, go-go and Gaga.
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