Justice: Academy, Manchester

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Justice roll out the big bangers in Manchester, but Getintothis’ Andy Minnis feels slightly short changed – after all, it was a school night.


Going to see a bass-thundering electronic band after one of the most tiring weekends in Getintothislife organising Threshold Festival made Justice‘s gig in Manchester an interesting experience.
Usually when reviewing bands we feel slightly disconnected, having to remember to make mental notes and observe instead of getting stuck in and finding my way to the front but inside Manchester’s Academy we felt that bit more detached.
Whether it was tiredness, the cavernous space of the Academy or the fact it was a Tuesday night, we didn’t feel completely engaged. It’s fair to say though, looking at the rest of the crowd, that my experience was not shared by most and certainly it’s no criticism of the Parisian duo’s performance.
Sometimes dance music is a tough sell, particularly during the midweek, being much more suited to club nights, festivals and big weekends.However, Justice have mass appeal, a wealth of fantastic tunes and once again they’ve brought an impressive sound system plus, as the set goes on, what is revealed to be an impressive lighting array.
The pair tease us, mixing samples from hits like D.A.N.C.E. and We Are Your Friends as they work through a set combining the best of their two albums and many EPs.
Less well known tracks are interwoven with crowd pleasers impressively to keep everyone hooked. Songs build one on the other and the lighting gradually kicks in.
First colour changing grids are revealed on the speaker stacks, then illuminated organ pipes appear framing the trademark cross, then a web of stars at the back of the stage pulses in rhythm to bass heavy tracks like Civilisation and Phantom.
Bass is a big feature, they’ve definitely brought the noise with this one. I reminisce about memorable Chibuku nights and standing too close to the speakers in Nation to my friend, who probably can’t hear what i’m saying as our chests vibrate.
As time passes, the sound builds well but then a break appears as the pair pause for applause, it makes sense, however as the ‘second half’ kicks in, just as we feel they’re really taking control, throwing in classics and using some of the bigger sounding tracks from their first album the gig ends.
It feels abrupt, especially as we were just starting to warm up and it felt like they could have carried on playing for another good half an hour.
It may be the problem of trying to translate this kind of performance to a one-off week night rather than a full weekend affair, or maybe it’s more a reflection of Getintothis‘ temperament.
Justice first grabbed us upon hearing Waters of Nazareth on a sample CD taken from the cover of a long defunct music magazine. We loved the messy, industrial, disjointed, layered, impenetrable sound; loved that there were no lyrics – it didn’t need lyrics.
That side of their music, exemplified also in tracks like Stress and Genesis made them stand out, while D.A.N.C.E., We Are Your Friends and Civilisation simply recall former label mates Daft Punk.
Throughout, our ears craved for their older tracks and disengaged whenever samples like ‘do the D.A.N.C.E.‘ rang out – perhaps the abrupt end seemed so much the shorter because I was waiting to hear more of what I liked.
Without a doubt Justice were a hit with the crowd and many happy, sweaty faces joined me drifting out into the cold Mancunian night.
However, either through musical snobbery or simply musical nostalgia, I left feeling pleased to have seen them but wishing it was 2007 again and † had just come out.

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