Rare Essence band members pose in front of logo
Credit: Courtesy of Becky Marcus

“Ain’t no party like an RE party cuz an RE party don’t stop,” go-go pioneers Rare Essence chant in their adaptation of this popular hip-hop phrase. Since 1976, the self-proclaimed “wickedest band alive” has been living up to their hype, mixing call-and-response verses and funky rhythms. This May, following the COVID postponement of their 45th-anniversary party last year, the Southeast group celebrates their 46th anniversary with a special show. Andre “Whiteboy” Johnson, the band’s guitarist and only remaining original member, wants to keep some details a secret until the event, but says the gig will feature an expanded core of 18, with 14 or more additional guest participants, many of whom are former band members. While they won’t be wearing their original matching red outfits from the early days, Johnson promises wardrobe changes and backdrops used at their 1980s arena shows. Lead talker James “Jas.Funk” Thomas will lead an extensive roll call of clubs the band has played. RE also promise to pay respect to late band members, such as drummer Quentin “Footz” Davidson. May 14 at MGM National Harbor, 101 MGM National Ave., Oxon Hill. $75– $289.

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