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Reading 2012 Review: Justice

Sitting in awe, Dave Grohl’s allure is mesmerising at times in his set, but the Foo Fighters get to the point where they’ve played a lot of their hits, and they start to arrive at the part in their three-hour extravaganza (which turned out to be more like two and a half I hear) where they play some of their less well known material. For a quasi-fan like me, this says one thing – time to go and watch Justice. Pioneers of the French electro scene for years, kings of electro-clash, leaders of their Ed Banger label which works so hard to promote french electro music, Justice are two DJs with two albums and get two thumbs up from me. For a headline set the crowd is slightly less dense than one might expect, but more arrive nearer the start, and anticipation builds. Their typical stage set up consists of marshall stack amps piled high in a 3×3 square either side of their illustrious DJ ‘area’. They stand with their decks behind what looks to be some sort of phone operator’s switchboard, with cables and other electronic looking things poking out, the entire set up looking detailed and thought out. The famed ‘cross’ looms in the centre of this magnificent setup, and avid fans hold up their little wooden crucifixes as a tribute to the bands trademark sign.

The interim music softens, the lights darken, and the crowd awaits eagerly. Suddenly their preferred introduction music begins to blast out; their take on Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in d minor, a truly inspiring piece to begin what is to be a truly thrilling set. As it comes to and end, the cross lights up brightly, and this is met with rapturous cheering and elation. Suddenly they’ve burst into Genesis, their particularly fitting opener, and the set begins. The entire place has become a dance-floor, we are stood just in the back of the front section and the entire place moving, with people around trying to pull their best moves. Mosh pits are opening, but thankfully infrequently so, the set doesn’t have that sort of feel. In true Disc Jockey style, they mix songs for almost the entire set, instead of playing songs entirely one after the other. This meant that ‘Civilization’, one of the better songs off their latest album ‘Audio. Video. Disco.’, was hinted at for about 20 minutes before the bassline actually made an appearance in the set. They are clearly professional in their abilities, not only can they mix their songs well, but they also know how to excite the crowds and tickle their senses. The solitary line of “We are your friends” is played repeatedly throughout the set before the actual song comes in, and when it does the place erupts. ‘Waters of Nazareth’ starts to play at one point, only to be dropped into another song. Canon and Helix are both played from the new album, but the mix is retained with some of their favourite ‘oldies’ being dropped, such as DVNO, both of the Phantoms, and Stress.

By the end of the set, the two lads exit the stage, yet the screens remain fixed on the cross. They have dropped almost every single song in their back catalogue in some form or another, so the encore is to be an interesting one. They return to the stage and receive consummate affection. Suddenly the eponymous song from their album starts to blare out, Audio. Video. Disco., and the crowd react accordingly. They end up dropping the song three times, in what turns out to be a rendition of the song lasting over ten minutes. The dancing begins again, thousands of happy electro lovers seem satisfied, and chanting of ‘we are your friends’ follows the boys’ departure from the stage. In what is often the less packed Sunday night NME headline slot, Justice certainly pulled off a great set, and although admittedly not as rammed as it may have been if they weren’t clashing with one of the biggest bands in the world right now, the crowd was probably more passionate and less diluted than it would have otherwise been. A great set for me as a first timer, all of their hits packed into 75 minutes, and a perfect way to end a great weekend. Jack Alexander

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Author: david

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