Cited as the club where Chuck Brown first crafted the go-go genre, the Maverick Room – on 4th Street NE, just north of Rhode Island Avenue – is seen as the birthplace of go-go music. While the year has been debated, Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers first experimented with the new style and pattern of playing in the mid-1970s. Brown and the band decided not to take breaks between their songs and began interacting directly with the audience in rounds of call-and-response between and during songs. The drummers also experimented with their percussion style, which gave the music a new and distinct sound. The sound soon caught on with other bands, with each band contributing to the genre’s particular style while also retaining their own flare.
The Maverick Room’s status as the birthplace of go-go cemented its popularity within DC, and its Edgewood location made it a popular spot to attend concerts throughout its lifetime. Go-go bands formed with members as young as middle school age, with DC public school investment in music education assisting in the genre’s growth as more children learned how to play instruments and enjoy music. Go-go music also developed at a time when African American neighborhoods in DC were still rebuilding in the wake of the 1968 riots. Go-go acted as a form of community building and served as a positive outlet for people to express what was going on in their communities. The Maverick Room was a hub not only for music, but also for people to come together, share news, socialize, and, of course, try to get a shout out from their favorite bands.
The Maverick Room has since been demolished, but in 2016 the city ceremonially designated this portion of 4th Street NE as “Maverick Room Way.”
This site is a stop on the Exploring DC's Go-Go and Punk Music Scene Tour.