Justice with The Rapture :: 04.17.12 :: Fox Theater :: Oakland, CA
The Rapture, another band on the Coachella bill, opened up this show with some grooving synth jams that were a perfect warm up for a night of energized dancing. The Rapture takes the funk band formula and applies rock overtones to it, giving them a unique sound that shook the audience into party mode. Lively bass lines are prominent in the mix, and they provide a backbone for wah-wah funk guitar accents, vibrant vocals, and even the occasional sexy saxophone solo. The band played classic fan favorites as well as new tracks off their recently released album In the Grace of Your Love. Highlights of the set included the sax-infused “Get Myself Into It” and “Whoo! Alright Yeah…Uh Huh”, where muliti-instrumentalist Gabriel Andruzzi went off on the best cowbell jam I have ever witnessed. He rocked out all around his keyboard stand with big swooping dance moves, giving off waves of ecstatic energy and really exploring all of the space around the stage left area. The cowbell is always a huge crowd pleaser, and people really got into the song and yelled along the exclamatory “Whoo!, Alright!” lyrics with the countertenor vocals of lead singer Luke Jenner. They wrapped up their set by playing their new piano-saturated single “How Deep is Your Love?”, where they traded their instruments for synthesizers and took the audience on a journey of looping bass lines and emotional singing. Many of The Rapture’s newer tracks are more synth-focused when compared to their previous rock centric album Pieces of the People We Love, and these contrasting styles made for a great blend of diverse music for their set. The song ended with a very enthusiastic audience singing and clapping along in unison to the fading lyrics, and spirits were high on the way into the headlining act.
The minute that Augé and Rosnay took the stage at the Fox it was obvious that something big was about to go down. Their stage setup was composed of two massive amp walls of Marshall stacks that they positioned themselves in between and dramatically started off the show with the booming orchestral first track off their debut “Genesis”. People were pressed up against the gate at the front of the stage and responded appropriately as the tempo picked up and the first massive bass drop was executed. The energy levels among the audience were even palpable. You could feel the floor boards shaking as the crowd jumped up for a blasting metal riff, and when looking out over the crazed fans, everyone’s bodies vigorously moved together to create an undulating sea of grinding electro bliss.
During “D.A.N.C.E.” – arguably their most successful single – their blinking turntable stage setup split open to reveal an illuminated alcove with a single keyboard where Rosnay had a seat and played out the most elemental melody of the song. This was gradually built back up into a rougher mix with a digitalized bass line, and then finally to a full on pounding dance track. By the end of this musical journey, Justice had elevated the energy so much that the entire venue was going crazy. They did a very good job of expanding their recorded tracks into new places, which is a very admirable thing to see in a live DJ style performance.
Justice ended the night with an encore that started out with their new single “On’n’On”, another number that started out slowly and built up to a massive finish. They mixed in the lyrics from “We Are Your Friends”, one of their very early, catchy creations, and left the audience with the echoing mantra: “We are your friends, you’ll never be alone again, well c’mon.” The line rang out over the audience, a very true sentiment for a crowd crushed in on every side by old comrades and newly acquired dance partners, everyone sweaty and happy from the supercharged Justice performance.
Coachella was smart to have booked this group, and Oakland was more than happy to host them for this special show. Justice will be back for San Francisco’s Outside Lands Festival in August, so if this sounds like a set you’d want to check out be sure to snag tickets to see them in Golden Gate Park.
JamBase | Francophilin’
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