It’s been one week since Lollapalooza 2012 kicked off and no matter how hard I try to focus on the present, I can’t stop replaying the insanity that went down. With countless performances from some of the world’s largest acts, there’s a whole lot to reminisce about. But of all the sets that I caught throughout the weekend, Justice’s headlining set to close out the festival on Sunday was, without a doubt, my favorite.
Crushingly heavy synths, funky bass lines, impossibly catchy refrains and a Spinal Tap-esque stage show; Justice’s performance had it all. Like many festivalgoers, choosing between Jack White’s dirty, sweaty rock’n’roll and Justice’s visceral electro was not an easy decision. Looking back, I definitely made the right choice.
From the moment they took the stage surrounded by LED-infused Marshall stacks, a console that looked more like the dashboard of the Millenium Falcon than a typical DJ setup and, of course, their signature cross, Justice turned Lollapalooza into a full-blown party. The French duo had the crowd dancing and flailing about to jam after jam off of their two full lengths and various EPs.
Poking fun at the controversy over EDM producers pressing play rather than mixing live, Justice made it blatantly obvious throughout their set that they weren’t doing a damn thing. With their hands in the air, Xavier de Rosnay and Gaspard Augé showed that they can ride a bike without touching the handlebars as well as anyone. They continued on with the joke by incessantly dropping “This is the excuse that we’re making. Is it good enough for what you’re paying?” from their remix of Soulwax’s “NY Excuse” throughout the set.
From time to time, the massive console that hid their hands separated to reveal a keyboard that the two took turns sitting at. Whether they did anything more than sit there is questionable. Backs to the crowd and with minimal movement, it’s more than likely that they phoned in this part of the set as well. In a sense, their admittance of not playing was endearing. Rather than make excuses as so many DJs do, Justice embraced it, laughing with the crowd rather than being laughed at.
By the time “D.A.N.C.E.” dropped, the crowd was in a state of frenzy. Crowd sightings included a lot of neon accessories, some hula hooping and a whole lot of making out and dry humping. Justice kept the energy going with hits like “DVNO” and their collaboration with Simian, “We Are Your Friends.”
As the show came to a close, the refrain, “We are your friends, you’ll never be alone again,” seemed as poignant as ever. After three days of crazy weather and amazing performances, the Lolla crowd gathered for one last hoorah to close out the weekend, together.
Review: Alex Katz