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Justice Brixton Academy 29th September 2017 by Luke Dyson IMG 0802

Stadium House: Justice, Live in London

02 October 2017, 17:28 | Written by Jack Dutton

Justice certainly know how to put on a party. The French house duo gave one of the most-talked about performances at Glastonbury earlier this year, flanked with 30 speakers and backed by a light show of which the biggest Ibiza superclubs would be envious. Although Justice are technically an electronic act, their larger-than-life stage set-up makes you feel like you’re at a stadium rock gig

The French dance outfit’s 2007 debut, Cross, quickly made them one of dance music’s household names. Known for their catchy vocals, playful basslines and big beat drums, Justice filled in the void left by Daft Punk in 2005, who by 2013’s Random Access Memories hadn’t recorded a studio album in eight years. Justice’s following two albums, Audio, Video, Disco and Woman, saw their music become less electro-orientated and instead more disco-tinged.

Tonight's show, at Brixton Academy, marked the Justice’s first in London since 2012. The set began with “Safe and Sound”, the lead single from Woman. Despite being released eight years later than “D.A.N.C.E”, their flagship track, “Safe and Sound” sounded like a precursor to it. The set opener built the atmosphere well, with seraphic vocals, euphoric strings and a bass line capable of making Prince quake in his boots.

It worked so well, in fact, that it was easy for the French duo to segue into “D.A.N.C.E”, by chopping up the vocals before unleashing the full track. Although vocals dominated the first two tracks, Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay’s taciturn stage presence was quickly apparent, but any conversation between songs would have disrupted the flow of this fast-moving show.

Following a majestic rendition of “D.A.N.C.E” came “Genesis”, a track with a horn section intro lifted from the Godzilla OST. After this, the vocals of “Pleasure”, one of the poppier tracks off Woman, were tastefully mixed into “Phantom” before the Brothers Johnson-sampling “New Jack” tore through the thirty-odd speakers on stage. Vocals for their 2011 single “Civilisation” were also mixed in, but the crowd unfortunately wasn’t treated with the whole song.

Although some of the newer Justice work didn’t sound like it could withstand the test of time in the same way as some of the older tracks like “Genesis” and “D.A.N.C.E” could, they were generally well received, changing the pace of the set a little. The more progressive build of “Love S.O.S” gave the audience some time to catch their breath. The track, an odd mix of rushy chords and cheesy vocals that could have ended up on an MGMT album, was one of the unlikely highlights.

After playing “Waters of Nazareth”, both members of Justice stood still for five minutes, staring intensely into the crowd. Just as your suspense levels were peaking, the duo dropped their sing-a-long hit “We Are Your Friends”. There were a lot of smiling faces in the room when the track quickly mixed into “Phantom II”. If this was the encore, it was an extremely impressive one.

The stomping “Audio Video Disco” came next as well as a dramatic newer track, called “Stop”. Although it was a million miles away from Justice’s Cross material, the wilfully naff guitar solos proved to be a success with the audience.

Justice brought the tempo back up “Alakazam!”, a track with an infectious electronic cowbell, moog bass and disportionately loud kick drums. A lacklustre performance of “Pleasure” paled in comparison to the last track, a supercharged remix of “D.A.N.C.E”, which marked a euphoric close to the set. With this show, Augé and de Rosnay had no trouble proving that there is no party like a Justice party.

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