Justice at Festival Hall

French electro duo Justice filled the Melbourne Festival Hall with lights and sound last Friday night, at a sold-out, all ages show. Jess O’Callaghan was there:

The evening got off to a good start thanks to a solid set by Sydney five-piece Canyons (they play indie-club-pop with a saxophone!). Next, special guest Busy P somehow took us from Black Sabbath through Owner of a Lonely Heart to Goodbye Stranger by Supertramp, a feat probably made possible by his awesome French accent and lovely hair.

Melbourne Festival Hall was full by eight-thirty. To fill such a space with bouncing, singing-along bodies is no easy feat, but there were obviously a number of Justice die-hards present, with homemade fan-shirts and squeals of “this is actually happening,” a constant throughout the night. Their songs may be sparse on lyrics, but the crowd knew them all (and belted them back) to the French electro duo (Xavier de Rosnay and Gaspard Auge), when they played to what has to be one of the most enthusiastic audiences I have ever been a part of.

Justice somehow combine a rock vibe with electro dance music, and do it all in a French, deadpan way, as if that’s how everyone parties. The mixes were different enough from their albums to keep the set interesting, but familiar enough to please the fans. While they didn’t seem to care too much about working the crowd and were set back in the stage (unlike the warm-up benevolence of Busy P and his crowd-charming hair flicks), the focus was instead on the lights and making the audience jump about.

The lighting was almost as spectacular as the music and pretty theatrical at times, opening with an ambitious amount of fog and their trademark luminous cross in the middle of the stage. D.A.N.C.E saw beams of what seemed like sunlight coming through the bars of the backdrop and a faux organ, made of incandescent tubing, accompanied the second half of the set, sliding across the stage. By the encore – a spectacular version of Never Be Alone, I was well and truly a convert to the world of French electro.

Review by Jess O’Callaghan.