Justice + Midnight Juggernauts at The Metro

Road trips for concerts have become one of, if not my favorite, past-times. A tender amount of pressure weighs upon the band making the logged mileage, cramped legs, turnpike truck stop food, and friend’s apartment floor space crashing worth the journey. Since the name “Ed Banger” is on everyone and their little sister’s tongues, I devoted my latest paycheck to a day trip to Chicago for Justice at the historical Metro.

I should pen a title for my concert reports, something that notes my consistent tardiness to the venues. Perhaps a hyphy pun like “Go Tardy” or something that denotes my fondness for pre-show drinking like “A Drink Past Curtain Call.” I am open to suggestion. Nonetheless, I had my press pass waiting and was in no rush to join a sold out crowd. “On time” is a bitch when the bar next door offers $1 well drinks and quiet before the sonic assault.

I entered to the Midnight Juggernauts finishing its Ziggy Stardust lives on hit “Into the Galaxy.” This single gets my vote as one of the top songs of 2007. In an age where bands desperately try to recreate the Spiders from Mars sound, the Midnight Juggernauts nail it without sounding contrived. Enjoying the Juggernaut’s album “Dystopia” has been a struggle past “Into the Galaxy,” but its live set is a different animal. It has to do with a realization that this is not computer music, but a sound that is cultivated from instrumentation. “Tombstone,” despite its digitized vocals, fleshed itself out from the machine as the drummer’s steady pounding carried the bouncy apocalypse from the engine to the ether.

But that is not why I was there. I came to see a mass dance below a glowing yellow cross, affirming a growing suspicion that Ed Banger is the new Christianity and that declaration of friendship is why we dance, replacing need for rain, sweat, fertility and any other forms of perspiration or spirituality.

It gave me goose pimples looking from the balcony down into a sea of bodies, no visible floor space, absorbing kinetic energy from all sides, as it works itself into a holy frenzy to a giant glowing cross. Looking down, I got this crazy urge to leap from the balcony, feeling assured that a mass such as this would absorb me. It is the collective I would imagine every musician hopes to play for, if only once. Justice never eased up on the grip it had on its worshippers. From [the] “Genesis” the thunderous Frenchno shook the walls, while the crowd tested the floor. It made me wonder if the basement after party would begin when we all went plummeting.

At times it began to blur together for me, but the unmistakable horror film sounds of “Stress” nearly made my melon burst. It’s an apt title; the presence of such murderous synths sent my body into a mild panic attack, nervous that any moment something villainous might happen. Even in its most industrial moments, the hydraulic stabs could not contain this beast of a track.

Justice left nothing to be desired. They gave a taste of every track, some special remixing, and then a chorale singing of “We Are Your Friends.” The duo didn’t even let the sample ride out, but guided the audience with the first line, dropped it out and let the choir fill it out. I cannot believe I had never heard this song until that moment. But I’m glad that was my virgin experience. It was like I’d passed initiation into the dance scene that night, told I would never be alone again, then ushered down to the after party to submerge into the underlings of movers and shakers.