It'd be hard to dream up a more incongruous crowd than the one that showed up at the Lansburgh Cultural Center Friday night. Fans of Trouble Funk's hypnotic "Go Go" dance music and Minor Threat's speedy hard-core punk met and shook hands, greeted at the door by a sign that urged, "Unity, let's make it happen."
The early part of the evening was dominated by the punks, who came decked out in tattered but garish clothes topped off with misshapen haircuts. Texas' Big Boys opened the proceedings with a mixture of glowering, metallic rave-ups and brittle, bitter funk tunes bridging the stylistic gap between the headlining acts.
By the end of the first set, a sizable contingent of Trouble Funk's following had gathered and were exchanging curious glances with the punks. They wore baggy, pleated pants, patterned sweaters and shirts with upturned collars and a variety of unusual headgear. It was an unsettling look, a simultaneous parody of affluence and rejection of poverty.
After an interminable wait, Minor Threat plugged in and, after a few false starts, exploded into a devastating "Screaming at a Wall." The stage was immediately swamped with dancing, shouting kids from both camps. One exultant number after another followed, an ambitious new original and the community sing-along version of "I'm Not Your Stepping Stone" standing out among them.
Surprisingly, most of the punk fans stuck around to catch Trouble Funk and were rewarded with a properly grand finale. Three drummers mounted a spectacular polyrhythmic percussion assault as a ferocious horn section, synth and ebullient lead singer stomped through a nonstop, hour-long groove. Their own numerous local hits were interspersed with chunks of funk classics, including a thinly disguised Kraftwerk rewrite, "Trouble Funk Express." Punks and funk fans alike danced euphorically, leaving exhausted but happy.