Justice: Access All Arenas

Access All Arenas
(Ed Banger Records/Because Music)

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If ever there were any doubts that electronic music should pack in venues rather than dance floors, Justice is here to dispel them. With Access All Arenas, this French duo brings a rock sensibility to their live performance, making their second live album a worthy venture.

As soon as the fans scream at the sample of the Godzilla theme in “Genesis,” you know that the men of Justice have the audience in their hands. This isn’t your typical live album featuring conversations with the audience between songs or lengthy introductions. Instead, everything transitions sleekly and expertly, but it’s not all so processed to seem prerecorded. There are enough quirks and flaws that you know two men are doing their best to put on a damn good show rather than just stick their CD in and let the crowd go wild.

And really, the crowd noise is incredible. Deservedly so. Like so many other electronic acts, Justice samples and borrows several influences, but in this live show, they’re able to showcase a great many genres without seeming trite. “Civilization” has a perfect balance of funk and early rock augmented by danceable house beats. Funk is also unmistakable in “D.A.N.C.E.,” which is stretched out and teased at to leave the audience wanting more, while “New Lands” is the sort of tune that could fit in at any pop rock arena gig.

“On ‘n’ On” is a hypnotic, mellow masterpiece, slipping in only hints of rock with the portions of “We Are Your Friends.” By the time “Phantom Pt. II” churns to a close, the crowd has been whipped into a roaring frenzy. This is an energetic and admirable set from inspired purveyors of house music.

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About Casey Hicks

Casey Hicks toils her daylight hours away in an office high above Manhattan in order to afford nights of passionately scribbling. The first song she remembers ever hearing is "Lola" by the Kinks. She thinks this explains a lot.
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