Justice is served | Inquirer Lifestyle
Justice

Justice is served

Justice
SWEET Justice. MIKHAIL ARCE-IGNACIO, VYBE PRODUCTIONS

It’s 1 a.m. and still no duo on stage at Valkyrie. Too bad I missed Kiko Escora’s opening DJ set. He was one of the founders of the legendary Fluxxe parties in 2005, where I first heard “We Are Your Friends” (Justice Vs Simian Remix), a rework of Simian’s “Never Be Alone” which became a crowd favorite.

It sounded fresh, and, sorry to say, maybe even better than the original track. The Internet, then still not powered by Facebook, was looking for more material from this new and unknown remixer.

Justice is Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay, a French electronic duo, part of Ed Banger Records. The label’s owner, producer and DJ Pedro Winter, aka Busy P, was known to have managed Daft Punk in its earlier years, and Justice was his new baby.

Ed Banger championed a new electronic sound that mixed rock, electro, house and disco. It was like a whole label full of Daft Punk sounds pushed into new possibilities. Ed Banger’s sterling roster then included Mr. Oizo, Breakbot, Uffie, Sebastian, and the late DJ Mehdi, to name a few.

New rave sound

Justice finally released its debut album, “†” or “Cross” in 2007, its first single, “D.A.N.C.E.,” an instant hit, especially to the kids who were looking for a new rave sound.

That record was extremely heavy; it had horror samples mixed with disco grooves, and heavy metal processed with wet distortion. The group also admitted putting micro samples of 50 Cent and Slipknot into the album. “†” got a Grammy nomination for Best Electronic/Dance Album.

In 2009, Justice won the Grammy for Best Remixed Recording of MGMT’s “Electric Feel.”

Justice’s success was such that many acts rode its wave, like Fake Blood, Bloody Beetroots, MSTRKRFT, Does It Offend You Yeah? Then Steve Aoki took it away, somebody put a dash of R&B, trance, and trap, and renamed it EDM.

Kidding aside, Justice was instrumental in involuntarily pushing producers to get louder in producing dance tracks.

After Fluxxe’s demise a few years ago, I see its regulars again at the Justice show. Through the years, all have probably changed tastes in music, but they meet on common ground tonight with this long overdue gig.

Bad example, but the feeling is like Tears for Fears live in Araneta for new wave fans, who waited for the band to visit for such a long time, they had already gone Rip Van Winkle and grown beards.

But tonight, just a decade late, this is a treat for Justice fans. The French duo is not doing a live set. Its famous live set is known for having a wall of stacked Marshall amps on the side, with the official cross light box planted right in the middle of the mixing table that looks like a modular system.

Its live set also consists only of original music with special live edits. Tonight’s show is promoted as a DJ set, which isn’t too bad, either. It’s not like if you have U2, do a DJ set.

Justice is known for its good DJs who mix dance, hip-hop and soul with flair.

Donna Summer

There is some mid-tempo house music happening, lights turned low, when two figures come up to the decks. The floor is packed up to the sides.

Anxious fans scream upon seeing the stars. Suddenly the mid-tempo house music slows down, and seamlessly we hear a Donna Summer track creeping in, which catches the crowd by surprise. It’s a good surprise, because this is what the crowd expects: to be caught off-guard by the music.

As the lights turn up, Justice puts on two more Donna Summer tracks. Then, not even feeling how it went in, we are treated to an electro-disco track that drives the party mad.

A few songs more, we hear the heavy stuff, a real banger to wake up the crowd.

At this point everybody goes nuts. I remember hearing a Zongamin remix.

From where we stand, near the subwoofer, the bass is so strong, specks of dust fall from the ceiling straight into our drinks. Not too far from the opening, Justice brings out a remix of “D.A.N.C.E.,” which invites the crowd to sing.

Augé and De Rosnay take turns mixing for and hyping the crowd. I hear a Boys Noize track and more of Justice’s harder stuff from the debut album.

The real treat is when the music slows down from high BPMs and fall into surprises like Run DMC’s “It’s Tricky,” Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”

At a certain point Justice outdoes its loud tracks by pushing the speed to higher BPMs that almost sound like a cross between Ministry and Tones On Tail.

The night is not complete without its first remix hit, “We Are Your Friends,” with a reprise toward the end. And then comes another surprise, a mix of The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby.”