It was N.Y.C. against D.C., hip-hop versus go-go Saturday night at the Capital Centre as hometown heroes E.U. and Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers faced off against New Yorkers Doug E. Fresh and Run-DMC. As a concert, the event made for a lively, if lengthy, evening; but as a contest, Washington won hands down. The difference was mostly a matter of pacing, for after the nonstop funk the go-go bands dispensed, the rappers' stop-and-start approach seemed self-defeating.
E.U. set the pace with a roiling, energetic set that quoted everything from "The Roof Is on Fire" to "Shortnin' Bread" and was, in many ways, the high point of the show. Doug E. Fresh, "the original human beat box," followed, and though his ability to make noises with his mouth was impressive, it wasn't until he was joined by emcee Ricky D for the hits "La-Di-Da-Di" and "The Show" that he really clicked.
Chuck Brown, the elder statesman of go-go, turned in an ambitious, jazzy set that veered from "Sure You're Right" and "We Need Some Money" to the "Woody Woodpecker" theme and a version of King Pleasure's hit "Moody's Mood for Love." Although Brown lacked the dynamism E.U. displayed, his set was more than a match for Run-DMC, whose brash rhymes and arrogant demeanor seemed almost an annoyance after the Soul Searchers' good-natured groove.