Live Last Night: Lissen

As the Bonos, Bruces and Beyonces descended upon Washington for inaugural weekend, Washington's go-go community welcomed the arrival of America's first black president with an indigenous party soundtrack that still goes relatively unheard outside of the Beltway. Sure, most area go-go clubs weren't graced with star-studded guest appearances, but they still delivered some of the most lively parties in the city.

In the wee hours of Monday morning, the celebration was two-fold: Lissen, the beloved go-go fusion troupe that splintered into two rival factions five years back, had reunited for a wall-to-wall throng of fans at Mirrors Nightclub on New York Ave., N.E. Things looked equally crowded on stage, the band's 12 members delivering sprawling grooves that felt both pummeling and sultry. The crowd loosened up to covers of T.I.'s "Swagga Like Us" and Kanye West's "Heartless," but it wasn't until a scorching cover Babyface's "Whip Appeal" that Lissen showed its true potency, turning that vintage quiet-stormer into a Category-Four hurricane. By the final chorus, the temperature in the club had spiked about five degrees.

Lissen has always had a knack for the sexy stuff and during its second set, the group gave T-Pain's "Can't Believe It" an assertive bounce without losing a drop of smoothness found in the original. But with the 3 o'clock hour closing in, the band wrapped things up with their optimistic anthem "Sunshine." Fans sang along at the tops of their lungs. Sunrise was only a few hours away.

Lissen will perform at Mirrors again on January 30th.


By David Malitz |  January 19, 2009; 12:13 PM ET Inauguration , Live Last Night
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