Help me identify a 90's-era, DC-area street performer and his unique drum kit.
July 15, 2007 10:39 PM   Subscribe

When I was in Washington DC approximately 8 years ago, I remember being captivated by a street performer playing drums. What was interesting, though, was what his drum kit was composed of; among other objects, he used a shopping cart both to transport his drums and as a cymbal. He also used stacks of pickle buckets as toms. That's all I can remember. If anyone can provide a picture, a video, or even just a description of all the implements used in the kit I would be most grateful (also, whether or not this man is still performing or any other relevant information).

Note: this doesn't seem quite right, though it could just be that he acquired some different before or after I saw him.

My apologies if the existence of the above video makes this a crap question, but it's been bugging me for years.

Also, I have read this thread and I didn't feel it really answered my question, though it did make a Kansas boy aware of how popular this phenomenon is.
posted by worstnerdever to Society & Culture (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Oh geez. I think I saw him when I was in DC in 2004, by the Smithsonian. Pickle buckets, a shopping cart, water-cooler timpani, and I want to say that he had a broken broom handle as his drumsticks. Definitely a talented dude, but I'm sorry I can't remember more.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 10:53 PM on July 15, 2007


"[g]o-go's essential beat is characterized by a syncopated, dotted rhythm that consists of a series of quarter and eighth notes (quarter, eighth, quarter, (space/held briefly), quarter, eighth, quarter)… which is underscored most dramatically by the bass drum and snare drum, and the hi-hat… [and] is ornamented by the other percussion instruments, especially by the conga drums, timbale, and hand-held cowbells." (Wikipedia)
posted by mookieproof at 11:06 PM on July 15, 2007

Those two videos pretty much nail it. I'm fully aware that there's no way to know what performer it was that I saw, but that first video especially comes very, very close to what resides in my memory.
posted by worstnerdever at 11:42 PM on July 15, 2007

For at least the last ~15 years, there have been numerous performers in Boston using this sort of drum kit, though they always sit on the ground, or on a low seat like a milk crate. Interesting... I've never seen a guy standing and playing cart-mounted buckets before.
posted by rxrfrx at 4:47 AM on July 16, 2007

You still see those performers in DC, go to the Chinatown metro especially, or usually near any big public event on the national mall. go-go is awesome.
Also see the video to the song by Amerie "gotta work" - it has a bunch of guys playing these.
posted by citron at 4:58 AM on July 16, 2007

citron's right--there are several guys doing this. The Washington Post's virtual tour of Dupont Circle features one (you might need to scroll around a bit to find him).
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:07 AM on July 16, 2007

They play outside of Nationals games on the way out. There are also concerts and a couple of local radio stations that feature GoGo regularly.
posted by BobbyDigital at 8:41 AM on July 16, 2007

WPGC 95.5, WKYS 93.9, usually a few tunes make it in the regular play list (I hear Critical Condition Band "Classy" a lot), but then on weekend evenings you'll hear more, I think both stations have a Sunday night block where it's all go-go. Or just hang out somewhere where there's lots of night life and listen to people drive by blasting it from their stereo :)

I was driving by the National Mall near Constitution Ave and 7th St two weeks ago on a Saturday afternoon and heard a go-go cover of Lil Mama's "Lip Gloss" being played.. live, it seemed! There are a lot of odd & interesting go go covers.. actually made Ashlee Simpson "Pieces of Me" sound great.
posted by citron at 8:57 AM on July 16, 2007

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