Live Music + Gig Reviews

Justice + Late Of The Pier @ Somerset House, London

11 July 2008

Well, so far this summer has really put the BS into BST hasn’t it? Thankfully the capital has a thriving music scene to see us through these dark days and what better form of escapism from the British weather then the manic Parisian electro symphonies of Justice?

Let’s not forget the support act though. Late Of The Pier are a quartet that hail from Castle Donington and have a major label deal in their pockets and a debut album due out imminently.

Lead singer Samuel Eastgate, with his About A Boy basin haircut, is certainly a charismatic performer as he jumps and shouts his way around the stage.

Raucous, epic and with enough ‘Oooooohs’ to rival the Kaiser Chiefs‘ ‘Ohhhhhhs’ any day, if you catch my drift, this is glam-rocking synthpop with the onus on freewheeling fun. Their performance, which ranges from overblown melodic histrionics to aggressive exuberance, still manages to warm the cockles even in the torrential downpour that Mother Nature is inflicting upon the crowd. With a strong set of indie party anthems and the revered Erol Alkan on the controls for their album they should be well set for future success.

When Justice take to the stage, brooding, dark clouds hang overhead but the rain is at bay. They start with album opener, Genesis, and a huge drape falls down from in front of them to reveal banks of electronic gear that make Gaspard Aug and Xavier de Rosnay look like they’re manning a spacecraft. In the centre glows their trademark white cross. The dramatic start continues as they tease us with Phantom before launching headlong into it, leaving grins plastered on the faces of the screaming throng. Next up is D.A.N.C.E., a singalong dance classic if ever there was one as is Tthhee Ppaarrttyy, which also gets a well-received airing.

But the loudest chant is reserved for their take on ex-indie boys Simian‘s We Are Your Friends, which the duo begin by cheekily mixing it in with Klaxons‘ Atlantis To Interzone. The feisty but friendly crowd wave and cheer as a helicopter circling above grants its passengers a unique viewing of the pandemonium going on in the Somerset House courtyard.

The second part of the set is almost like a twisted medley of the first with Phantom played again but mangled and tweaked into a new form. Part three then ups the ante further as the tunes are mashed still further into even less recognisable shapes. The heavens open as jackhammer beats and rock guitar samples also rain down on the crowd. Weirdly, the torrential downpour enhances the experience and the euphoric, beat-riddled build-ups are met by drenched, clenched fists punching the wet air.

Whether the Frenchmen are just making the most of having a limited amount of material they carry it off in style and leave the crowd with throbbing feet and grin-induced face-ache. This was a night of drama, peaks, troughs and general sweaty, filthy electro mayhem. A gig to remember that places Justice up there with the Chemical Brothers as one of dance music’s most entertaining live acts.

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More on Justice
Justice – Woman Worldwide
Justice – Woman
Justice – Audio, Video, Disco
Justice – A Cross The Universe
Interview: Justice