|Chick Brown bustin' it loose in DC.|
It’s 11 p.m. on a Tuesday in a Capitol Heights, Md., industrial park. An open tire shop seems like the only sign of life among the warehouses. But go around back and there’s the muffled yet undeniable clatter of live drums, congas and horns. This is go-go the way Chuck Brown used to play it. Inside a carpeted rehearsal studio, the Chuck Brown Band is running through the set list for one of its most important gigs.
Two of Brown’s children — son Nekos and daughter Takesa “KK” Donelson — sit comfortably on a black leather couch as the troupe resurrects the spirit of the go-go icon.
“Po-lice-man is on the premises, what is he doing in here?” vocalist Frank Sirius sings on “Run Joe,” in his best Brown inflection.
At other times during the practice, the band tinkers with a few loose grooves that lead to Brown’s “Woody Woodpecker,” a go-go cover of Lorde’s “Royals,” and a playful simulation of the “Happy Days” theme song.
Some songs broke down. Others were more fluid. It’s about the party, after all.
More than two years after the “Godfather of Go-Go” died at age 75, the musician’s family, and the band that supported him, are looking to bring the Chuck Brown sound to more listeners, and to find broader appeal for the affable dignitary of this D.C. sound.
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