Justice @ Epic Nightclub

DJ Set or Live set, that is the question. Depending on your preference you may or may not have had a good time at Epic Friday night. A live set consists of the trademark Justice stage setup, which is a giant wall of speakers and the white cross, with them playing all Justice tracks or remixes (Check out their new album All Access Areas for a perfect example of a live set). A dj set on the other hand is what we got, which was the duo behind a nondescript table with a couple of laptops and some mixers, playing mostly other peoples music.

That's a pretty big difference, although you wouldn't know it from the price of the show. A $50 ticket would not be out of sorts for a live show, although for the size of Epic and this being Mpls, that's still pretty steep. So it was a little disappointing that was the price for this show. According to the promoters, they have to charge enough to pay what the group demands, but if you have to have a Groupon to help sell tickets, it's obviously too much.

Just after midnight, following 2 opening DJs (KPT & Soviet Panda), Justice finally took the stage to spin some tunes. In my opinion they did a great job with song selection. They didn't depend on your typical EDM tracks to get the crowd moving. They dropped in some classics, from 'Windowlicker' - Aphex Twin to 'Move Your Feet' - Junior Senior, as well as a few Justice tracks.

If you were hoping to see Justice perform, you were probably pretty let down, especially after dropping $50. However, if you were there to dance, have a good time, and let Justice curate the music for the evening, you likely had a blast. After all, hearing them mix in D.A.N.C.E. and Civilization is the next best thing to a live set.  
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STS9 @ First Avenue

I've been to a number of festivals with STS9 on the bill as well as in the same city they've passed through, but this was my first time officially catching them.

When I arrived at First Ave and saw the size of the line to get in, I was pretty surprised. I realize STS9 has been around for over 10 years and probably has a pretty loyal following, but I guess I just wasn't expecting a crowd that big. Needless to say it was packed inside and the crowd was really excited and energized waiting for the 5 members to take the stage.

I assumed I was in for quite a show with this sort of buzz and anticipation. When the band took the stage around 9:30PM and kicked off their nearly 2 hour show, the crowd went crazy, and didn't stop moving the entire time. The lights were a great compliment to the 5 guys on stage clearly enjoying what they were doing and feeding off the crowd's energy; even if they seldom addressed the crowd.

This all probably sounds like a great time right? For everyone in the audience, except for me, it was! However, after a few songs I felt like I got it. I was obviously seeing a different show than everyone else. I could see how STS9 would do really well in a festival atmosphere, especially outdoors. The unusual amount of white dudes with dreads seemed to confirm this.

I ended up leaving after an hour, which according to Twitter was the end of Set I (of II). I couldn't do another hour of what felt like a rave my parents would enjoy attending.

4.11.13 - First Avenue - Minneapolis, MN - Set I: #STS9setlist
Golden Gate #STS9setlist
Instantly #STS9setlist
Arigato #STS9setlist
Blu Mood #STS9setlist
The Rabble #STS9setlist
One A Day #STS9setlist
Hubble #STS9setlist
4.11.13 - First Avenue - Minneapolis, MN - Set II: #STS9setlist
Vapors #STS9setlist
Beyond Right Now #STS9setlist
Dance #STS9setlist
Kabuki #STS9setlist
Monkey Music #STS9setlist
Simulator #STS9setlist
March #STS9setlist
Inspire Strikes Back #STS9setlist
Encore: This, Us #STS9setlist
4 Year Puma #STS9setlist
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Modestep @ First Avenue

I knew very little about Modestep before attending their show at First Ave on Sunday night.  After giving them a listen and learning they were a dubstep-rock band however, it sounded like it could be an interesting show to see.  And interesting it was.

If you've ever attended an electronic or EDM show before and wondered what it would be like if the songs were performed by actual musicians, well, that's a Modestep show.  I enjoyed their song selection in their quick 60 minute set, and I just couldn't get over the fact that this was all live.  Along with their own songs, they performed 3 Prodigy songs, a Major Lazer song, a Porter Robbinson song, a Coldplay song(crazy right?!), and a bit of Rage Against the Machine.  All put through a dubstep blender and performed with actual vocals and instruments.

Each of the 4 members of the band did a great job showcasing their skills.  The lead singer had a great range considering he had to sing, rap, and even scream.  Plus, it was refreshing to hear live drums and live guitars on these same tracks that you've heard time and again mixed into DJ sets.  They definitely stayed as close to a "normal" DJ set as they could, all while reminding you they were a rock band too.  The respective drum and guitar solos were a welcome surprise.  The one rock element I think they should have left out was the break between songs.  The audience is there to dance, and they're accustomed to dancing nonstop through the show.  Although they did their damnedest to work the energy up with each song, certainly they wouldn't have had to work so hard had they not stopped so many times.

Even with the more traditional elements of a rock show sewn through a very dominant dubstep sound, the audience loved it all.  Although the crowd was small, everyone in attendance was on the floor and dancing to every song, drinking up every last "drop".

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