Fans of hardcore punk and go-go descended on the 9:30 Club Sunday afternoon and evening, eager to catch their favorite D.C. musicians play in a seven-plus hour throwback jam. The music festival was the final event in a weekend celebrating a new documentary and Corcoran Gallery exhibit about the D.C. music and art subculture of the 1980s.
While we didn’t stay for the whole event (we just can’t rock that hard on a Sunday), we did manage to see a couple of great acts. The legendary DJ Kool, of “Let Me Clear My Throat” fame, welcomed the crowd with a lively set of old-school hip-hop, R&B and go-go. He wasted no time in getting audience members dancing and ready for host Henry Rollins, a D.C. native.
Some of the bands hadn’t played together for quite some time; go-go funk group the Static Disruptors last took to the stage about 30 years ago, according to front man Craig Rosen. It didn’t take them long, however, to get back into that “D.C. Groove.” They were game to try some new things onstage, like an acoustic version of one of their songs, while simultaneously preserving their past. Their set included a shout out to departed band members and go-go heroes, and vintage concert footage played on a loop behind them on the stage wall.
Funk and punk are two distinctly different genres, but the event was as much about the District as it was about the bands who did—and still—call it home. Rollins thanked the crowd for getting together on a Sunday and said he was excited to be among so many people who loved D.C. and its musical culture.
“I hate territorial pride…it terrifies me. However, I am so happy to have been born and raised in D.C.,” he said.