Justice – review

Brixton Academy, London

The ascendance of a dance act from club to Academy is generally down to their swallowing of a crossover genre whole. The Chemical Brothers ate indie, Daft Punk devoured disco and Justice – the Parisian duo of Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay – have made the leap by assimilating the trappings of industrial rock, punk and metal into their propulsive house beats.

From Gaspard's Ramones hair and Xavier's leathers to the cinematic goth doom that opens Genesis and the synthesised gutter-rock power chords of Canon, they're metal as anything, right down to the huge stacks of fake Marshall amps and a large white glowing crucifix. This forms the spiritual-meets-technological centerpiece of a semi-transparent cuboid screen that boxes in the entire stage, resembling Steve Jobs's fantasy stage set or Philip Schofield's worst nightmare.

It all makes for an intoxicating audio-visual spectacle, as the Marshalls each become luminous mini-screens, big bang starscapes explode across the cube and Justice splice, savage and mash their tracks together with abandon. Tonight is an entire career in remix, their biggest hits making several cameos each. Civilization's impression of a gnarled New Order melts in and out of the funktronic Helix and Newjack. D.A.N.C.E. – their brilliant android-Jackson 5 skipping song – bubbles out of both Canon and DVNO, introduced by the podium splitting open at the crucifix to reveal a keyboard pod where Gaspard plays the song's soulful sample. The hook from their 2006 smash We Are Your Friends pokes out a fang a couple of times but is never fully uncaged, considered too populist perhaps – or maybe it is a casualty of dance music's reluctance to succumb to something as unchallenging as a greatest hits set.

As well as those hoping for the obvious numbers performed obviously, anyone expecting flecks of the danger and darkness that have shrouded Justice since their hooligan rampage video for Stress will leave disappointingly unoffended. No, it's the sheer dementia that keeps us dazzled, and demanding Justice for all.

At Manchester Academy (0161-275 2930), tonight.


Mark Beaumont

The GuardianTramp

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