After a disappointing evening at the Brits, electro duo Disclosure dusted themselves down and set off on another UK tour with the opening night taking place at the O2 Academy in Birmingham, an initially rescheduled date from their fall tour. The crowd were clearly not put off by the wait, as the turnout was huge and the screams deafening as the lights went down before the ominous faces now synonymous with the band began to illuminate the backdrop.
The brothers confidently took to the stage and launched into ‘F For You’ with a remixed vocal from Mary J Blige and an impressive merging video visual on their diamond shaped screens. They then chose a mix of tracks from their number one album ‘Settle’ and various EP and B sides, with highlights in the form of ‘When A Fire Starts to Burn’ and their collaboration with Eliza Doolittle, ‘You & Me’. Their mix between ‘Confide in Me’ and ‘Running’ both featuring the silky and soulful vocals of Jessie Ware was a real highlight and a glimmer of the real potential this band clearly have.
Disclosure are an unusual live act and having seen them perform an incredible live set on Friday night at Bestival last year, I was slightly disheartened by this gig due to the fact the brothers seem to be lost without the help of their accompanying vocalists. They impressively play a number of instruments during tracks but they don’t allow the crowd any real time to offer the band reaction and due to this at times it felt like you were listening to one large megamix with a hit single dropped in randomly. Also, their visual identity is incredibly strong and is used intelligently during ‘Help Me Lose My Mind’ and ‘White Noise’ yet for some album tracks, the visual looked like 90’s desktop screensavers and didn’t add to the duo’s show in any way.
Whilst the festival crowd erupted when the likes of Sam Smith and Hannah Reid joined the duo onstage, they only really garnered a similar response to ‘Latch’ and the momentum didn’t seem to continue as the boys lacked the presence to hold onto the energy of the crowd. It’s quite easy to see why they chose to not include an encore as from beginning to end, the Lawrence brothers failed to interact or accept applause from the audience. The duo are incredibly talented at what they do, and singles such as ‘Voices’ and ‘F For You’ were some of the most refreshing dance songs of 2013, yet their stage show appears to really falter without the charismatic personalities of Aluna Francis or Jessie Ware etc.