It’s hard to get fans of different football teams to bond, even more so when one is beating the other 38-0 at halftime.
But at last week’s Maryland football game against Howard, fans of both teams laughed, danced and enjoyed the “World’s Largest Go-Go,” a collaboration that celebrated the history and culture of go-go music in the Washington, D.C.-Maryland-Virginia region.
Fans paid full attention to both this university’s Mighty Sound of Maryland and Howard’s SHOWTIME marching bands as they, along with music group Critical Condition Band, paid homage to local culture with a go-go performance spectators couldn’t look away from.
Go-go music holds a special place in the hearts of many in the area. Many say the genre originated in the Washington, D.C., region around the 1970s.
While bands such as the Young Senators and Aggression were popular in the area, the late guitarist and singer Chuck Brown heavily influenced the genre, becoming known as the “Godfather of Go-Go” and cementing the foundations of the Washington, D.C.-based style of music.
Some of Brown’s early days were spent near Howard, and with a game against the Bison this season, many in the Maryland athletic and marketing departments saw this as the perfect time to use go-go to bring the community together and share a moment, despite the team they showed up to root for.
“It was good with Howard being our opponent to add that flavor to the game,” coach Mike Locksley said.
Locksley, who is from Washington, D.C.,, has led the charge in bringing more go-go music into the Maryland football experience. He even contributed a couple of his favorite songs.
“Our coach was talking about it a lot, he loved go-go and grew up listening to it,” said Jordan Looby, Maryland’s marketing strategy and fan experience director. “He had asked me to play go-go songs at select moments in the game.”
Locksley’s suggestions included Chuck Brown’s “Run Joe” after long runs, “Do You Know What Time it Is?” by Rare Essence when the team came out for warmups and “Let Me Clear My Throat” by DJ Kool in between the third and fourth quarters.
“Go-go music is a part of the DNA of this area. I grew up in the southwest section; it’s a part of our fabric,” Locksley said.
Locksley’s love and want for go-go around the Maryland program got the ball rolling in planning the “World’s Largest Go-Go,” and the marching band quickly voiced its support and started plans to make it happen.
With Looby and dozens of others, including Howard’s marching band director Kelvin Washington, the “World’s Largest Go-Go” provided the community with a celebration of music and appreciation of local culture that fans enjoyed.
Critical Condition Band posted a two-minute video of the performance, which has since been viewed thousands of times already and reshared by many go-go musicians.
“Looking at [Critical Condition Band’s] comments on their Instagram posts related to it just warmed my heart, it was overwhelmingly positive in terms of what it meant to go-go music and to this region,” Looby said.
One of those comments came from Chuck Brown’s son, Wiley Brown, who wrote, “yesssiiiirrrr I know my father is smiling down and Proud . Keep applying Pressure!!!”
Looby says Maryland is looking to do just that as it, along with Locksley and others in athletics, are looking for more ways to bring a taste of that D.C.-Maryland-Virginia culture and swagger to Maryland Stadium and other athletic events.