With walls of speakers, a fist-pumping-lyric-singing crowd, and a lighting system that included seizure-inducing strobes and a 3-foot tall light up cross, Chicago’s Riviera Theatre was ready to jump off Thursday, March 20.
French electronic duo Justice was in town and with a set up like this, how could the show not be fun?
The floor was crammed with hipsters, soaked the whole night with as much sweat as there was
irony leaking out of their pores, decked out in everything from mustaches to tight jeans, to fitted hats, to limited-run sneakers and American Apparel, all amidst smoke provided by a machine and tobacco alike.
The music heard was mostly a remixed set of their party-popular 2007 release † beginning with “Genesis” through “Waters of Nazarath” and into their crowd-familiar singles “D.A.N.C.E”, “D.V.N.O” and “We are Your Friends”. Throughout the set, a handful of non-cross tracks were played that were short enough to be either transitions or a hint of what’s to come in future official releases.
While the exhibition of their unique style (electronic music with a heavy rock influence) was fantastic sonically, the show was a massive let down for one fundamental reason: people dance at parties and watch performers.
A dance crowd needs room to dance obviously, but the show was a crowded sold-out venue with a capacity of 2,300 split between a dance floor and seats presenting concert-goers with two choices: either watch Justice spin records all night or do one’s best to try to dance (if one’s idea of dancing is jumping up and down while simultaneously keeping the crowd from smashing one into guard rails, other people’s sweaty backs and lit Parliament cherries).
The show concluded with two encores that could not have been more disjointed: an a cappella sing-along version of dance, a la Mickey Mouse Club, and an unexpected-yet-epic remix of Metallica’s “Master of Puppets”.
Leaving the show I realized the mistake I made: I gave into the hype like everyone else did, sacrificing the ideal interaction with the music for the short term experience of watching the live performance.
In short, I didn’t fight hard enough to party and instead of attending the musical orgy I expected, I had inadvertently stepped onto the worst kind of dance floor: one too crowded for anyone to dance on.