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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 27, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 17
Justice unleashes mighty performance in Portland
Arts & Entertainment
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Justice unleashes mighty performance in Portland

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Justice
April 24
Roseland Theater (Portland, Oregon)


The illuminated white cross, staked front and center on stage, had nothing to do with health or any kind of rescue mission - least of all anything religious. Instead, it was a symbol of two bad-ass guys who've ruled the electronic world and were about to conquer another sold-out crowd in another city, this one being Portland.

Justice, a pair of Frenchmen with the real names of Gaspard Auge and Xavier de Rosnay, has been a hardcore player on the techno-industrial scene since their 2007 debut record, referred to commonly as the 'Cross' album. On Tuesday night at PDX's Roseland Theater, the duo wasted no time getting started. Promptly, they appeared on an elevated platform and cranked out a metal-tinged intro of 'The Star-Spangled Banner' before exploding on the opening number 'Genesis.'

For most of the show, the audience bounced up and down and lifted their hands or fists in the air - all usual signs of a good rave party. There was guy twirling glow-in-the-dark fingertips, something else you're bound to see at a rave. There was also a girl wearing a tutu, punk kids with shaved and colored hair, goth chicks in all-black attire, college dudes reeking of weed, Gay guys with a smidgen of eyeliner, and one fan waving a cardboard cross.

Like all electronic concerts, the artists mix in lots of samples and various versions of their tracks. From what I could tell, Justice played back-to-back renditions of 'D.A.N.C.E.,' which ultimately created an extended rendition of the song. Bits of 'DVNO' were folded into 'Horsepower,' just as 'We Are Your Friends' was diced into 'Waters of Nazareth.'

A long remix of 'Audio, Video, Disco' - probably 12 minutes altogether - closed out the main set as the stage was entirely illuminated in blood-red lighting. Speaking of lights, you could land a plane on a remote island with the amount of them used on Tuesday night. Besides a wall-size LED panel, lights also covered a dozen speakers on each side of the DJ booth, plus about 10 strobe fixtures placed at platform-level around the stage and another 10 hanging from the ceiling. A series of tubes infused with neon colors were neatly positioned on stage, as well.

Auge, a giant of sorts (he's just shy of 6 feet tall, with barbaric shoulders), stood out in a muscled T-shirt and a moppy head of hair that covered his entire face like a windshield. De Rosnay, noticeably petite in comparison to his partner, sported a denim jacket with white T-shirt and a clean-shaven face.

A 15-minute encore was highlighted by 'On 'n' On', the second single from Justice's 2011 offering Audio, Video, Disco and 'Phantom Pt. 2' with morsels of 'We Are Your Friends' thrown in. Oddly, the encore also featured de Rosnay frozen in place with his hand held out to the audience, like a statue, for about three minutes.

It was super loud inside the Roseland Theater and there was so much activity, from dancing to bouncing to foot stomping, that I felt at any moment the floor would collapse. The acoustics were amazing in this 1400-capacity venue; you could feel every ripple of sound penetrating through those speakers clear and crisp. This all contributed to a dominant performance, even more impressive than the duo's Seattle concert four years ago at the Showbox SoDo.

Fresh off an appearance at the Coachella Festival, and finally returning to North America after several years of disappearance, Justice roared back and proved that, cross or no cross, they are the baddest boys in dance music today.

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