Justice @ O2 Academy, 12 February

Live Review by Ray Philp | 16 Feb 2012

A brightly lit cross, two French guys whose haircuts bob like violent metronomes, and faux-Marshall amps that double as strobes piercing an otherwise Spartan setup: this is the scene that beholds the front row, and every row behind that (apart from the stragglers at the back bar, the detached few who opt out of the strammash). It's nothing spectacular. Or, not nearly as spectacular as the rippling blanket of heads, arms and legs raised in appreciation of Justice's alpha male-appeasing, medieval disco bombast.

Despite the arrival of a sophomore album that foregrounds their softer side, Newlands and On 'n' On assimilate readily into the primal aggression of formative songs such as Stress. It's visceral stuff, for sure, but there's a certain tenderness about other moments that allays the suspicion that we're being invited to strap in for an 80 minute rollercoaster of gurning and cheap drops. In fact, if tonight proves anything, it's how far removed from electronic music Justice really are. They're a rock band in all but the most superfluous of categories – that is, the instruments they happen to wield. What sort of DJs do you suppose come back for an encore?