Live Review: Disclosure – Festival Hall, Melbourne – Wednesday 6 January 2016.

Notorious for its poor ventilation and dilapidated interior, Festival Hall played perfect host to UK brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence with their set of loud, sweaty, dance inducing music.

The 5,000 person capacity venue was filled to the brim with punters wanting to catch a glimpse of Disclosure. These two musicians-cum-DJ performed a full instrumental set complete with not only the usual samplers and loops associated with electronic music, but live singing, bass, guitar and percussion as well.

The live element to the show is something that differentiates Disclosure from their peers and is certainly something that was visibly and audibly noticeable in the crowds’ response as there was clear appreciation for the musicianship on show. This was not a set of “bangers” casually cranked out from a turntable. This was a set crafted with live music intricately blended with traditional tapes, loops, samples and pre-recordings.

Promoting their new album Caracal, Disclosure’s 90-minute set predominantly featured tracks off from their most recent record. Almost all tracks from Caracal were met with great enthusiasm rather than the stereotypical groans that normally accompany ‘something off the new album’. This enthusiasm extended beyond singles and radio-played tracks, highlighting Disclosure’s appeal to album consumers, not just radio listeners and club goers. From smash hits “Omen” and “Magnets” to album tracks “Superego” and “Echoes”, it was clear from the crowd that Caracal was not only a popular album, but that songs off it played a big part in getting punters to fork out upwards of $80 to come see the duo.

The greatest crowd reactions were saved for songs from debut record Settle though. Set-opener “White Noise” was met with rapturous screams and applause as it blared out through the smoke machine mist and sauna-like perspiration humidity. The live bass playing on the track set the tone for what was to be a night of funky beats, accomplished instrumentals and excellently intertwined sampling and effects. This was followed up with live vocals from younger brother Howard for “F For You” before the crowd could even get a chance to catch their breath back.

As the set meandered its way past the halfway mark almost to the point of boredom, the set descended to a down tempo hold for several minutes, broken masterfully by motivational speaker Eric Thomas and his now famous sampled line “When a Fire Starts to Burn”. With Howard again on live bass guitar, the song was met with roaring crowd vocals upon encouragement from older brother Guy.

Special mention must be given to live vocalists Lion Bible and Brendan Reilly who performed their tracks “Hourglass” and “Moving Mountains” (the latter off the Deluxe edition of Caracal) respectively, showing great showmanship and exquisite vocal control throughout their performances.

The show was unsurprisingly closed with smash hit “Latch” as the world famous refrain “Oh oww” shot out from Guy Howard’s sample pad out into the now equatorial-like humidity. The crowd danced one last time, got whatever was left form their voice boxes and then dispersed out into what felt like an open-air nirvana on the streets of West Melbourne.

Disclosure had just played their biggest ever show in Melbourne. Guy Howard proclaimed to the crowd that they would come back again at the end of their set. On that performance many of the crowd would return as well in a heartbeat.

  • This review was written by Ellipsis.

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