Justice, Somerset House, London

Somerset House, London

It is not often that a Somerset House concert sees umbrellas as well as hands in the air. This is the first time in years that the weather has frowned upon the venue's summer season of shows. Robbed of the traditional picturesque sunsets and convivial, picnic atmosphere, a mellow singer-songwriter would have a rotten time of it, but the glowering skies suit the sturm und drang theatricality of Parisian duo Justice just fine.

Walking on stage to a tape of bombastic classical music, Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay sound like Daft Punk with the funk gene removed, motivated instead by abrupt dynamic shifts and grinding, blasting noise. The walls of Marshall amps that flank the duo and the illuminated cross that forms the centrepiece of their light show advertise their debt to heavy metal, as does a short, choppy version of Metallica's Master of Puppets. They even have their own response to metal's famous "devil's horns" salute: forearms crossed in the shape of their logo.

Justice have been touring their debut album for over a year now, which suggests a certain ambition to crash live dance music's A-list, currently dominated by bands who started out in the 1990s, such as the Chemical Brothers and Basement Jaxx. It is about time a younger band took that leap, but Justice still have a way to go. Even with cover versions, remixes and a recurring Klaxons sample, they need a few more bright, soaring hooks in the same vein as DANCE's disco playground chant, or the plangent chords and wracked refrain of We Are Your Friends.

For tonight, though, volume and ferocity are enough. After an hour-long reprieve, the rain finally returns in earnest during Phantom Pt II's Hammer-horror disco, but by now nobody seems to care. In fact, it seems rather like a well-timed special effect.


Dorian Lynskey

The GuardianTramp

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