Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Justice at Birmingham Academy

Justice are like an act cobbled together by people keen to give music journalists an easy life. Whether it's the ease of comparing them to that other French electronic music duo, the gift of the heavy metal cross imagery, or the Genesis T-shirt in the On'n'On video making every reviewer bring up prog, there's a lot to write about. This obviousness translates to their music; whilst not quite reaching Skrillex levels of insulting simplicity (I picture him as a frenetic version of Ross Geller playing the keyboard - which someone else has OBVIOUSLY already created) the continuous womp-womp bass and guitar sound hardly carries the complexity of the prog that these people seem to think runs through their sound.

This point is where the Catch-22 of the successful electronic music act arises. Club music is about never, under any circumstances, stopping the party. However much DJs talk about building a vibe and changing the mood throughout their set, it isn't the same as a concert band with hits at the beginning and the end, banter with the audience, and breaks between songs. This works so well in a club because there is a culture of taking a break whenever you like, for as long as you like, and expecting to be able to return to the party much as you left it. With strict curfews and horrific bar queues, this culture doesn't exist in concert venues. At times Justice got repetitive and dull, yet it felt sacrilegious to take a break from the set in a way it never would in a club.

Still, you can't begrudge their success, and it was the components of this success, the standout hits from the debut and new album, that made this an enjoyable night. Genesis is still the best opening music for any act ever. The Party, Waters of Nazareth, DVNO, and D.AN.C.E. are incredible. On'n'On is a great addition. The highlight of the night was where they held the part in Waters of Nazareth where all the sound drops out for absolutely ages, with the lights ups, before letting loose the vocal from the We Are Your Friends remis that launched their careers. Even though it was a party that ended at 10:30, it was still a party.

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