Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club 2016
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, The Roots, TLC, Eric B and Rakim, YoYo, Shabba Ranks, 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”. 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.”
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.