Photographs by Neil Van.
A lot has happened for British duo Disclosure since I last saw them almost two years ago at a packed Danforth Music Sauna. Their Sam Smith-introducing “Latch” became a US Top 10 and their constant touring has made the brothers a hot commodity. The brotherly duo recently released their sophomore album Caracal and brought the subsequent tour to a packed Direct Energy Centre last night.
This was my first time to the venue and upon entrance wished that Daft Punk’s Alive tour played here rather than the awful Arrow Hall. But the room is cold. Dancing will be a necessity for circulation at the very least. I wasn’t expecting much in the way of awesome sound in the cavernous hall – it just wasn’t built to be the perfect setting for this kind of gig.
Warming up the crowd was San Francisco based producer Claude von Stroke. Despite a high energy set my hips could do little to resist and a fantastic light show, the limitations of the room’s sound became apparent as beatings by bass turned into mere taps. The giant open entrance allowed for too much sound to leave the room, greatly reducing its thump. But this is not von Stroke’s fault and he gave me many reasons to properly experience him in a club.
By the time Guy and Howard Lawrence hit the stage the room is packed with thousands ready to get their Saturday on and warm up this room. The boys open with “White Noise” and “F For You” from their debut Settle accompanied by an all-out visual assault that was the perfect backdrop for the music.
While Caracal has only been out a few weeks, the boys deliver almost all of it with its guest heavy vocals replicated on tape and a silhouette nicely incorporated into the visuals. I had half expected The Weeknd to turn in an appearance on album opener “Nocturnal” but that was not the case but the boys did give him a shout-out. Live Caracal’s polished sheen is nicely rubbed out and given the extra bite to work a large room. Again, while the greater audience density helped with the sound during Disclosure’s set, it wasn’t optimal.
Still, the boys delivered a fantastic presentation, a treat for the ears, eyes and hips. The new material kept pace and fit in nicely with Settle’s bangers. They were surprisingly chatty and thankful for the huge turnout and accentuated their thick grooves with live bass and drums, not content to hide behind a bank of computers and their own vocals made a compelling argument for not having to feature guest vocalists on future albums.
Highlights were many, but the crowd went especially nuts for “When a Fire Starts to Burn”, the Lorde featuring “Magnets” and anything featuring Sam Smith.
Returning for an encore after 80 minutes of relentless retina-searing, cobweb destroying beats, the boys opened their encore with “Moving Mountains”, something I initially thought was a curious choice for an encore until the brothers Lawrence turned into a throbbing groove quickly making it the highlight of the night for myself. The momentum continued for “Latch” that closed the night with some extra muscle for one last go before being unleased into the cold streets.
Thanks to Embrace Presents for media access.