With Disclosure’s sold-out concert, the 9:30 Club saw a new chapter in the ever unfolding saga of the British Invasion. Once four Liverpudlian lads and five chicks off the spice rack, the latest UK transplants to make waves this side of the pond are unarguably Disclosure, two Surrey brothers bringing the UK’s exciting homegrown breed of electronic garage beats into the American mainstream.
After a smash series of EPs caught the ears of UK tastemakers (Disclosure’s tunes are familiar fixtures on BBC’s Radio 1), the pair’s debut album Settle soared up charts in both the UK and the US this summer, eventually settling as iTunes’ number 1 release, quite the feat for any artist. Disclosure is all the more exciting considering how young its prolific producers, Guy and Howard Lawrence, actually are (ages 22 and 19 respectively). A search of the pair’s name on UK-based post-rave electronic music blog FACT reveals a whopping 37 pages of tagged results, already cementing the pair’s status as one of the most important electronic acts to emerge from the UK in the last decade.
This aura of hype was certainly not lost on the 9:30 Club crowd, who packed the place early to hear opener T.Williams’ two hours of house. Incorporating elements of UK garage and funk, Williams’ percussion-laden DJ set wasn’t short of carefully constructed tribal beats and basslines. This stripped down production was a perfect compliment to Disclosure’s live set; the Daft Punk-style structure of drum machines and keyboards almost made the duo look as though they were landing a UFO. Kicking off with Settle’s “F for You” and “When a Fire Starts to Burn,” the pair’s 90 minutes were practically perfect.
It should be noted that the dance duo’s success can be attributed as much to their 2-step rhythms and synth-laden garage lines as it can be to their carefully chosen vocalists. Settle’s tracklist (which predominantly composed the pair’s 9:30 Club setlist) is almost an archaeological record of the most progressive, burgeoning vocal acts in the UK: “Confess to Me” features South Londoner Jessie Ware, “White Noise” taps duo AlunaGeorge, “Latch” features help from Sam Smith, “Help Me Lose my Mind” hosts London Grammar, “You and Me” sees Eliza Doolittle, and “Voices” gets R&B up-and-comer Sasha Keable, all artists to watch within the next year.
But the 9:30 Club was also treated to some older Disclosure cuts. Roughly halfway into their set the duo pumped out some of their earlier work from A-side single release “Tenderly/Flow”, which, though quite consistent with their current sound evoked their earlier penchant for producing heavy-hitting, fast-paced bass-centric tunes that draw from the UK’s rich bass music heritage. A slight departure from their signature “deep-house” sound, the duo’s ability to seamlessly blend and bend various electronic genres and output a sound known distinctly as Disclosure is part due to their skillful attention to the rapidly evolving UK bass and electronic scene.
The emergence of Disclosure from the relative obscurity of a small bedroom in Surrey only a couple years ago to their current propensity and ability to sell out larger venues around the globe (they headlined the much smaller U-Street Music Hall last year) is a testament to the duo’s incredible talent and attention to detail. The sheer diversity and quantity of attendees this show made that fact quite evident. Disclosure is one of those special electronic groups who only come around every so often and seem to know exactly what they’re doing, and for all our sakes, that is a very, very good thing. Seeing how much the prodigious Lawrence lads have been able to do in such little time, they are definitely a group to keep a close watch on in the future.
–Emily Manning and Joey Giaramito