“It’s great to go see a Go-Go band perform at Strathmore or the Kennedy Center, but an authentic Go-Go is an event,” said Py.
With performances in restaurants, suburban clubs, and outdoor gatherings, Py said Go-Go is powered by the interaction between the performer and the audience.
“The call and response that Chuck brought in from the church, that gets the people involved,” He said.
“There’s a lead talker in every Go-Go band whose job it is to engage with the audience,” said Py. Audience members “pass notes up on stage, about birthday call-outs and anniversary call-outs.”
Chuck Brown died in 2012, but Py said his legacy carries on in the Go-Go community.
“He took the beat of the kids playing buckets on the streets, and the congas from the Latino band that he was in, and that beat continues all night long,” said Py.
In the 1970s, Brown pioneered the genre.
In 2007, standing at the site of the Maverick Room at 4th Street and Rhode Island Avenue in Northeast, he told WTOP about the night he realized “Bustin’ Loose” was going to be a hit.
The D.C. Library’s Go-Go archive was created in 2012, after Brown’s death — Py’s contribution provides an up-close view of the scene, on and offstage.
“Derek Gray at the Go-Go Archive has said many times he hopes this acquisition and the attention its focusing on the archive will get people to pull out their shoe boxes and start sending some more photos,” Py said.
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