Rare Essence, Washington’s premier Go‑ Go band for more than three 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.
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.
The Rare Essence catalog on their own Rare One Records label, includes dozens of titles, many of them live recordings (their P.A. tapes and CDs easily top 100), and their shows continue to feature such fan-favorite radio staples as “Lock It,” “Work The Walls," and "Overnight Scenario." Like any long-lived style of music, Go-Go has undergone changes over the decades but Rare Essence maintains and sustains its original sound and spirit. One of their album titles puts it best: “We Go On and On.”
Rare Essence remains the most enduring and consistently combustible live bands honed through countless performances in the Washington region, working the local and regional concert circuit full-throttle. Go-Go thrives live and that’s where reputations, and legacies, are cemented. As the Washington Post noted in a review, “....this band has performed more than 5,000 times. Like so many Rare Essence concerts, it’s easy to believe you’re seeing the best one.”