Review and Photos by Ben Oliver
Halloween is a one of a kind holiday. It’s my personal favorite. I wish that everyone could dress up and loosen up their usual uptight, conservative ways more than once a year. Maybe I’m being quixotic, but this year, I made one of the best Halloween memories of all time by getting to experience the French EDM duo Justice. This internationally acclaimed pair have changed the course of electronic music and culture since first exploding onto the scene in 2007. Their influence and impact is staggering, and can’t be over exaggerated. That being said, I was shocked by how man of my friends and peers who didn’t know them yet. And these are people like us, well versed and ingrained into the underground indie music subculture. I had long been anticipating seeing the Grammy award winning artists live, and I was not disappointed. I highly doubt very many were. It was also a night to remember because on the other side of the same property, sister venue South Side Music Hall was hosting a sold out performance by Kendrick Lamar.
The Palladium Ballroom in Dallas (also known as Gilley’s) was at near capacity (2000+), filled with so many of the same predilection. The place was jammed full of costumes, masks, and all sorts of revelry. If it wasn’t sold out, there was no way you could tell. We were unable to see the opening set from the locally renowned DJ Sober, since it took much longer than usual to get inside. Once in, it was certainly worth the wait. If you don’t already know, Justice is more than just music. The fanbase is one of the strongest you will find anywhere, and the same goes for merch sales. The auditorium was uncomfortably crowded, chronic smoke ascending from the masses. The anticipation and ardor kept building and growing, it felt like electricity in the air. Their iconic cross logo was front and center as custom. During the wait before their set started, I couldn’t help but notice the massive sound system and enormous speaker cabinets and subwoofers. As the background music came to a sudden silence, the two superstars emerged hovering above their setup below.
As their explosive set kicked off, the lights and sounds simultaneously collided for a powerful, impressive display. The epic exhibition started with “The Star-Spangled Banner Intro”, then “Genesis”, “Helix”, and also included “Phantom, Part 1″, then “Civilization”, “D.A.N.C.E”, and “Horsepower”. The entire experience was intense. The adrenaline filled atmosphere, charged by the dazzling lights, was stunning. The group quickly and easily managed to turn the entire audience into a dancing frenzy. Also on the set list were “New lands”, “On’n'On”, “Phantom, Part 2″, and “Parade”. The pulsating lights and powerful bass proved to be both trendy and therapeutic.
It was difficult to capture great looking photos, for several reasons. I was one of only two photographers up front in the pit. The lights, as you would probably guess, were difficult to shoot with. Then there was angles: which direction, how should you face them? Their setup is high above the stage, and their equipment and gear also takes up a lot of space. I planned to try several different spots, then again It also felt like there were over 5000 crammed in there, not just 2500-3000. Enough bitching, this was an absolutely incredible show, make sure to see Justice live the next chance you get.