Go-Go Returns to U Street
1115 U Street NW
Washington, DC, 20009
This event is 18 and over
Watch & Listen
Rare Essence, Washington’s premier Go‑ Go band going on four decades has built a devoted fan base that spans multiple generations.
Originated in the mid ‘70s by the late Godfather of Go-Go, Chuck Brown, Go-Go links songs together over percussion breakdowns—a raw, non-stop party groove fueled by congas, cowbells and timbales, with call and response interactions that obliterated divisions between a band that doesn't stop playing and audience that won't stop dancing.
Rare Essence has always been the city’s most popular and enduring Go-Go band. Formed by four students at a Southeast Washington Catholic school during the mid-‘70s, the band was kept on track by several no-nonsense moms and mentored by the late Godfather of Go-Go, Chuck Brown. Rare Essence quickly developed into the city’s most powerful Go-Go band, performing six to seven nights a week. They have performed with Run DMC, LL Cool J, Doug E. Fresh, Biz Markie, Ice Cube, Heavy D and the Boyz, Wu Tang Clan, Redman and Method Man, French Montana, Scarface, TLC, Eric B and Rakim, YoYo, Shabba Ranks, The Roots, KRS-1 not to mention Chuck Brown, Trouble Funk, The Junk Yard Band, & EU. While no two shows are alike, music lovers new to the Go-Go experience and Rare Essence sound will quickly feel at ease among an allegiance of loyal fans chanting along to hits like “Lock It,” “One On One,” “Hey Buddy Buddy,” and the ever popular “Overnight Scenario,” which is covered by Fantasia all over the country. In a review of the band’s 30th Anniversary show, The Washington Post Pop Critic Writer Chris Richards wrote, “…this band has performed more than 5000 times. Like so many Rare Essence concerts, it’s easy to believe you’re seeing the best one.” In 2014, Go-Go was featured in the DC episode of Dave Grohl’s “Sonic Highways,” and TV One’s “Unsung” series aired a Chuck Brown episode in 2015 that features interviews with Rare Essence’s Andre “Whiteboy” Johnson and performances by the band. 2016 brought the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture which includes Rare Essence featuring Go-Go music created by the late great Chuck Brown. In addition, Rare Essence appeared at globalFEST 2017 in NYC at Webster Hall and performed at SXSW 2017 at Austin City Limits Live in the Moody Theatre with Thievery Corporation, Erykah Badu, Wale and others.
Dubbed “The Wickedest Band Alive” by rap pioneer Doug E. Fresh, who has collaborated with Rare Essence, one of many artists to incorporate Go‑ Go's percolating percussion, and some of its key players, into their own recordings.
Rare Essence remains the most consistently combustible live bands honed through countless performances in the Washington region, working the local and regional concert circuit full-throttle, performing nearly 150 shows annually. Go-Go thrives live and that’s where reputations, and legacies, are cemented.
A native of Washington, DC, Jahsonic has been moving crowds at his weekly Monday night party - The Main Ingredient at Marvin since 2007. Before that, he got his start playing neighborhood house parties at the age of 11. His first paying gigs were residencies at the Blue Room, JIN Lounge and as one of the founding On-Air hosts and mixologists on 89.3 WPFWs ‘Decipher’ hip-hop hour. He was also a national finalist in the 2011 Red Bull “ThreeStyle” DJ competition in Las Vegas and recently played AfroPunk in Brooklyn. Jahsonic is also the creator and curator of the monthly “Axel F” party, where he plays the finest in classic champagne soul, funk, disco and lazer boogie for appreciative crowds and of “Behind The Line” where he pushes the boundaries of what’s possible in music with a focus on timeless sounds.
Go-go is the unmistakable sound of Washington, D.C. The homegrown genre, known for its relentless rhythm, used to be a mainstay in the city, particularly throughout the bustling U Street corridor. While go-go's presence in the nation's capital has waned in recent years, it will make a triumphant return to U Street this fall when U Street Music Hall welcomes the legendary go-go band Rare Essence to its stage. This will be the first time in over 10 years that the group has performed on U Street, you don't want to miss this show. Opening for the evening will be Washington native DJ Jahsonic.
No photo/video allowed. Advance ticket sales end one hour before doors.