We’re willing to bet — at the very mention of Disclosure, minds begin racing to the EDM scene, grouping Disclosure (made up of brothers Howard and Guy Lawrence) in with acts they’ve shared the stage with: Jack Ü (who may be better recognized as Skrillex and Diplo), Calvin Harris and Major Lazer to name a few. While this synth pop, house garage duo definitely started out with high tempo, unremitting beats, which had no trouble surpassing the attempts of their competitors (much like those in their 2013 chart-topping hit, “Latch”), Disclosure’s sophomore album, Caracal, released in late 2015, features a more sophisticated sound. There is an obvious drive to separate themselves from a sea of similar sampled sounds and predictable bass drops. Let us be the first to inform you: if you think seeing Disclosure live means watching two brothers hide behind their MacBook screens playing pre-mixed tracks off of iTunes, you are terribly mistaken.
The Lawrences have had no troubles in setting themselves within a league of their own. These brothers are highly capable of producing the wildly desired, sought after clean pop/dance sound. With compelling drums and beautifully composed chords, Caracal‘s tracks hit on every emotion. Whether you are feeling happy, angry, seeking a sultry vibe or simply want to dance, Disclosure delivers.
Almost by day, the opportunity to take advantage of what our digital age has to offer presents itself to young, creative minds. Producing tracks in your father’s basement can lead to overnight success. While the Lawrence brother’s story can loosely be traced back to something of similar sound, the pair have always sought out more than just dictating noise. It is not some kept-hush secret that some of the big names in EDM produce, mix and create a track in it’s entirety and, only AFTER it is all said and done, find a voice to match the feel of their track.
It is because of their authentic sound and their veritable success that Disclosure had no difficulties in selling out not one — but two — nights in San Francisco at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.
Honey Dijon supports Disclosure, warming up the crowd, which can be seen flooding in the auditorium by the masses. The 7,000+ max capacity is threatened at peaked numbers by the eager fans who pack the floor and upper levels of the venue.
Pitch black darkness sweeps over the crowd before bursts of lights give us a teaser of what’s about to come. The stage is set up in multiple tiers; dead-center are two set ups with perfectly placed drum kits, mixers, synthesizers, guitars…even a few cowbells for good measure. The Lawrence brothers hit hard, opening with tracks off their 2013 album, Settle: “White Noise” and “F For You.”
The entire venue is an explosion of color, Disclosure’s production never falling short or leaving us in any state of mind except that of absolute awe. They seamlessly switch back and forth from playing numbers off both studio albums, playing “Magnets” and “Omen” back-to-back early on in their setlist to get the crowd at a roaring wave of motion — and keep them there. The stage behind the brothers produces their eerie white-outlined face logos, flashing through in time with the high beats per minute count, only to fade away to deep blues, greens and red hues. During their performance of “Jaded,” the screens display a live feed of Howard and Guy as they sing the track, their faces fading in and out as though in some dream-like state. The peaceful greens and blues are replaced by fiery and seductive reds, oranges and magentas as the crowd reacts to latest hit, “Magnets” while an outburst of virtual fireworks linger overhead.
Remember when we said that watching the Lawrence brothers perform went far beyond watching two men hit autoplay on a computer mixtape? This is due to the fact that every second of their performance, Howard and Guy Lawrence can clearly be seen behind their set ups; playing their track’s synthesized arpeggios and perfectly melodically matched guitar chords versus simply producing them from previously recorded mp3s. The experience is far more engaging than a man with oversized headphones mixing track after track to get a rise out of those who came to have a good time. Disclosure teases us on Saturday night — amping up the crowd to see if they can out-do Friday night’s sold out performance. Later on, throughout the high energy and positive vibes that are, at any given moment, practically palpable, the Lawrences confirm that second and final night at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium outshines the first.
Thirteen songs into their setlist, Disclosure treats us with a special guest. To perform “Hourglass” is Lion Babe herself — donned in a striking metallic outfit. Her vocals echo throughout the auditorium, even more impressive than the feature on the recorded track itself. The upbeat track, which has a more clubbier feel to it than those surrounding it on Caracal, is a memorable one to witness. Lion Babe can be seen windmilling her gorgeous mane, standing on the tier below the Lawrence brothers as she dances on stage, the spotlight inarguably on her throughout the duration of her song.
We’re left to believe there is only time for one last track, which begins the slower, previously mentioned gospel number, “Holding On,” to conclude the boys’ fourteen song set. The flood of red lights which swept over the venue for “Hourglass” are adjusted to nothing more than black and white as the brothers wind down to end the evening. Geometric outlined shapes dance on the screens overhead and before long, Howard and Guy thank the crowd for the evening before exiting the stage. But there is no use fooling the thousands of fans who know this can’t be the end without hearing their most-known hit, “Latch.”
An excited buzz never fades from the crowd as applause, screams and cheering await the brothers for their encore performance. They take the stage one last time, satisfying the overall wish for the night to never end. Time seems to suspend itself temporarily as a second special guest takes the stage. Disclosure addresses the crowd as ladies and gentlemen, asking for a warm welcoming for vocalist Brendan Reilly who performs his featured track, “Moving Mountains.” The stage twinkles with an explosion of light in the form of a mountain as Reilly wins over the crowd with his astonishing vocals. Even Disclosure seems to be blown away, who note that of the several times they’ve performed “Moving Mountains” live, they have never heard such impressive noise come from their friend Brendan.
“It’s that time…” the inevitable has come and the night has a final five minutes. Disclosure holds out for as long as they can, seemingly enjoying the same euphoric state of mind that they have instilled in each of their fans this evening. There is a playful introduction, the brothers asking the massive crowd if they are aware of what the next track is — as if any of us could escape the 2013 hit which skyrocketed Disclosure’s success. “Can any of you tell me what this is?” they play coy as the recognizable ‘dah-dah!’ sample echoes throughout the venue. The crowd erupts, knowing this is their last chance to make tonight count. Disclosure encourages everyone to make some noise, a simple, “this is Latch” (as though any of us need that clarity) before going right into the perfect end to a perfect evening.