Five years ago, the notion of two brothers from Surrey, England, pumping out a mix of U.K. garage and deep house music, playing a sold out show at the Enercare Centre, would have been laughable.
In 2015, it’s expected. When Disclosure, made up of brothers Howard and Guy Lawrence, announced that Toronto would be a stop on their Caracal Tour, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that the show would be a sell-out.
Exhibition Place was packed with Toronto youth on a night the ancient grounds are usually accustomed to being barren. For a city playing host to Paul McCartney in the same evening, Toronto was sure to show Disclosure that they had their full attention.With such an impressive reputation preceding the duo, it was hard not to head into the show with high expectations.
Those expectations seemed to carry some weight throughout the crowd. Hardcore fans of the group were quick to point out that the brothers’ best material came from Settle, their first album, and that this was a tour in promotion of Caracal. The general consensus favouring the former over the latter was expressed in concern that the pair would ignore the old fan favourites.
As cautious anticipation washed over them, the crowd was curious as to what the boys’ set would entail. Still, no one expected anything less than an entertaining evening from the British brothers.
They kicked off the show with “White Noise”, the first single off Settle. Howard stood with a bass guitar in hand, driving the rhythm of the show instrumentally, while his brother Guy ripped on an electric drum set for the night. It was the first time I’d ever had the pleasure of encountering a producer’s set, even if 75% of the songs were back-tracked. Relief washed over the patrons of the Enercare Centre as they realized Disclosure hadn’t shorthanded them; this would be no simple DJ set.
For the hardcore raver who loves thumping bass lines and tightly packed venues, this show was not for them. The crowd was spread out, with plenty of room for people to dance along to the music. Though the pair started strong, an hour into it, the tracks had started to blend into one another. With no huge pick ups or drop offs, this set was designed for the die-hard Disclosure fan.
As the Caracal tracks carried the show, the crowd’s hunger for material off Settle was finally satisfied in the form of “When a Fire Starts to Burn”. Guy and Howard dropped the now-famous sample in the middle of a slow moving, quiet set and the place lit up. Up to this point, the soulfulness of Disclosure’s music had been the only aspect of their craft that bled through to a live performance. Once they teased their breakout hit, the playful, high energy Disclosure we know from their record was alive on stage and in the crowd.
The momentum was short lived though. While the crowd was finally warming up, Disclosure was winding down. The midnight cut-off was adhered to by the pair, ending on a string of hits from both of their studio albums.
As the crowd shuffled out, murmurs of dissatisfaction echoed in some corners, but the overall consensus seemed to be that Disclosure maintained an entertaining gig throughout the evening, playing tracks both new and old. Through their efforts with a live, instrumental set, the brothers Lawrence made it clear that they didn’t travel 4342 kilometres to disappoint.