Justice (concert review)

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7 May 2012, 16:45


Justice
PNE Forum, Vancouver BC April 26
By Alan Ranta

Like with most big-budget electronic acts, one attends a Justice show to see impressive lighting and hear massive beats. True to form, the Parisian duo have a deceptively killer rig, though at first, it seemed underwhelming.

Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay shuffled out and took their place at the middle of the arrangement, so high and back that it was impossible to tell what they were doing behind a monolith of studio-rack gear six rows wide, likely used only for their blinkables, in the middle of which was the band's iconic cross logo. On either side of this were two three-by-three stacks of Marshall amps, all in front of a curtain of bulbs stretching from floor to ceiling.

As the set progressed, so did the visuals. The Marshall stacks were, in fact, equipped with LEDs that could be triggered in different patterns, depending on track cues. The curtain of lights and six high-powered spotlights, which were placed atop the stacks, also cascaded in time.

Later on, a series of illuminated pipe-organ-like tubes elevated from the rack-gear monolith, as de Rosnay lounged around upstage to throw up a peace sign in silence for an unbearably long time, posing significantly longer after he was hit with a projectile from the over-stimulated all-ages crowd. This soon led to a brief reference to their mash-up of "we are your friends" by Simian, making the gesture all that much more dramatic.

Most shockingly, during their lengthy live reimagining of their hit "D.A.N.C.E.," the entire monolith split in two, revealing an organ surrounded by white light, with a glowing cube for Augé to sit on as he played a MIDI-free melody.

Indeed, the lights went beyond expectations, and completing the double threat, their music was top drawer. Justice's sound was so pristine and massive that they blew away the echo-chamber reality of the unforgiving wood and concrete hockey-rink setting that mushed the opening DJ's comparatively bland crossfader set.

Equally important, Justice teased out and tweaked their tracks, showing superb pacing and constantly changing up their crunchy beats, satisfying ADD and progressive-leaning tendencies alike. It all effectively demonstrated a taste level that wasn't as obvious on either of their two studio albums to date, and made for one hell of a spectacle.

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