It’s been a crazy 12 months for Disclosure – the musical project of brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence, and one of the biggest names in electronica right now. It’s been nearly a year exactly since the drop of their debut record, Settle—and in that time, it’s become such a large part of our pop culture soundscape—its sound clips embedded in everything from TV commercials to party soundtracks—that you’d swear, hearing the songs again, you must have heard them all your life. Friday night, the band brought its dance-pop concoctions to life at Union Transfer, where the beats and vibes transformed the venue into a packed, sweaty disco, the crowd drunk on beer, summer nights, and the promise of something great.
There’s always the fear with electronic music—at least for me—that something will be lost in the live show; that it won’t be as exhilarating as watching a rock show, if only because turning knobs pale in comparison to slaying on guitar. With Disclosure, this fear was particularly present, because so much of what makes the record great is all the special guests—British soul singer Sam Smith, Jessie Ware, Eliza Doolittle—all of whom were absent Friday night.
Yet Disclosure aren’t every other electronic band, and they quickly proved the strength of their songs was more than enough to propel them. Stationed behind matching “remix stations,” and armed with a small army of instruments—guitar, drums, samplers, mixers—the bros rocketed through a set of tunes drawn from Settle, and earlier, their vivacious melodies matched by an equally awesome light show.
And while nearly every tune drew shrieks and cool moves, I found my own inspired dance moves coming out during set openers “F for You” and “When a Fire Starts to Burn” (played back to back, like a perfect vibe-making aperitif), plus the quirky, bloop-y “White Noise,” which retained its charm even without AlunaGeorge contributing live vocals.
But the highlight of the show came right at end, as the band closed its set with two of its biggest singles—the floaty, London Grammar-assisted “Help Me Lose My Mind” and radio/dance floor staple “Latch”—a giant, video mouth mouthing the words to each as the crowd raged along. And even though it was all over in an hour, it felt oddly transformative—as if dancing to these tunes in this moment was all one really needs. Disclosure boast the power to move people, and Friday night, they were gods, if for one, glorious, sweaty hour only.