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Bring on the JUSTICE

Reported by Craig Gunn / Submitted 16-07-08 11:22

With the resurgence of dance based bands continuing to gather pace, electronic acts are appearing again on TV, Radio and the summer festivals as well as being signed to compilations and advertisements. JUSTICE are at the forefront of this wave and with a massive gig booked at the unique venue of London’s Somerset House, we decided we needed to send our correspondent, Craig Gunn, to find out more.

JUSTICE are French electronic music duo Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay. Following the release of their debut album and Grammy Award nomination, JUSTICE tracks have now become the staple of every electro DJ’s record box and have been used in many a commercial or BBC radio sound byte.

D.A.N.C.E has been their most successful track to date but their entire album is a deluxe hit machine taking us through guitar laden fuzzy riffs and chunky twisted bass lines. They have remixed the likes of Britney Spears, Fatboy Slim, Daft Punk and Franz Ferdinand to name but a few and rocked the Coachella festival last year.

They have now landed in the UK to a sell-out gig at London’s Somerset House. Would the glorious neo-classical backdrop of Somerset House subdue the group or were they destined to give us Brits a renaissance of their very own?

I arrived in Covent Garden on Friday night for some pre-drinks prepared with a rain coat as dark clouds loomed in the distance and thunder boomed over the London skyline. Despite the oppressive nature of the weather, the anticipation of JUSTICE at Somerset House was becoming palpable.

Talking with friends in the pub we all agreed that JUSTICE, with only one album under their belt, still seemed poised to join that league of super electronic groups that rule the World festival circuit. Chemical Brothers and Prodigy were hotly mentioned as were the genre defining Daft Punk and Kraftwerk.

I think JUSTICE can compare to all of the above but perhaps concentrate more on growling guitar sounds and samples and cracking bass than funky melody. And of course in a ‘French’ way - think Jean Michel-Jarre and Air.

We entered Somerset House easily and stood in the cobbled court yard. Logistically the following points about the venue should be raised. There was no mud which was great in keeping those all important Converse Trainers dry. The toilets were cavernous, clean and impressive. But it was slippery down the moss strewn steps, I saw a few people take some painful falls. The bars were reasonably priced, yet water was served with no lid. Hang on – this was but 3000 folk in Central London having a pleasant evening out, not Axel Rose at Wembley in 1992?

On one such eventful trip to the bathroom we almost slipped into Gaspard Augé. The best thing we could muster to say was ‘Yeah – nice one!’. Journalistic genius at its best I hear you say. I was loss for words as I knew that in about twenty minutes time I was going to be kneeling in front of this man’s illuminated crucifix and worshipping his wall of Marshall Amplifiers.

But I did notice his heavy metal garb of black boots, black skinny jeans, t-shirt, shaggy hair cut and leather waist coat. It was this contradiction in Gaspard’s wardrobe of dance meets metal that I think best describes their sound. Both genres anarchic vibe crossing over perfectly when JUSTICE control the mixing desk.

The warm-up group were Late Of The Pier. A feisty group hailing from Castle Donnington; they have been produced by Erol Alkanof Fabric fame giving their indie rock sound an electronic heartbeat. They were spunky and banged out some of their hits in pseudo eighties synth and guitar fashion but they were no Hot Chip or Klaxons, though they provided enough gusto in their performance to warrant a listen to their forthcoming album Fantasy Black Channel – which I believed is released on the 11th August.

After their performance, the lights dimmed; the Marshall amplifiers were unveiled and JUSTICE strolled on stage in charge of the captivated audience. The familiar sound of Genesis boomed from the speakers to begin the set and the crowd begin to jump.

JUSTICE’s totemic cross seemed to have been struck by lightning and burst into flame as it illuminated the stage, blindingly. The effect of the adverse weather was prophetically swept away and the disco began. The wall of sound generated in the Somerset House arena was crisp, heavy and loud and all those tasty electro sounds in their album took on a new life of their own. The group fizzled through their hits, teasing us occasionally in the mix with the odd bar from Phantom or D.A.N.C.E. Extra thuds and bleeps kept the transition from track to track short and sharp.

The night culminated in breakthrough tracks We Are Your Friends and before we realised that we were already one hour and twenty through the set when the encores began. The buzz in Somerset House was electric. I stood with my friends in awe of this group who were performing their album live with extra fizz and embellishing it succinctly and tightly. Goosebumps time all round for the die hard fans!

Rosnay and Auge openly admit they're no producers and have minimal knowledge of sound engineering but to me this was an excellent set with some tunes being re-sampled and put together in quite a remarkable way. The emphasis was on partying hard and dancing rather than ‘chin strokery’ and ‘pat on the back good job’ you might get from other producers, the type of sound that can make some dance music come across as clinical and over produced.

JUSTICE are raw there is no mistake. They even managed a chopped up version of Metallica’s Master of Puppets and DVNO. Live musical gold.

The rain began again like a well orchestrated piece of visual production as Waters of Nazareth finished off the night along with a cheeky reprise of We Are Your Friends which sent us all home happy and warbling drunkenly along to a future sing-a-long anthem I am sure.

I shouldn’t need to summarise how I feel about JUSTICE but truth be told they were brilliant. In the last 13 years I have seen Basement Jaxx, Prodigy, Leftfield and the Chemical Brothers a number of times and, hand on heart, if these guys keep performing this way live and making electro fun again then they will be festival favourites forever.

Michael Eavis should take note. JUSTICE created a small pocket of sunshine in the middle of a July thunderstorm!

Photos courtesy of Darling Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission.
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Other Features By Craig Gunn:
Glastonbury, The Biggest Show on Earth
I survived Glastonbury 2015
HarderFaster Guide to Glastonbury 2015
The Speed of Sound
The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.

From: Coops on 17th Jul 2008 18:45.18
Justice are the future of dance music.
Ask most 18 year olds about Sasha, Digweed or Oakenfold and they will look blank. Ask the same 18 year old about Justice and they will be able to name most of their tunes.

From: voodoobass on 28th Jul 2008 19:46.19
yeah, gotta love a bit o' Justice, I hope they can keep up the good work and not go shit though, as so many bands often do!

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