It takes a certain level of star power to sell out the likes of New York’s Central Park, particularly for young (in this case, ages 18 and 21), relatively new acts from overseas. Which makes the sold-out set from Surrey, England, pop-leaning house duo Disclosure—comprising older brother Guy and younger sibling Howard and profiled in our current issue—last night all the more compelling.
After opener Bristol DJ Julio Bashmore warmed up the dance floor with the entrancing house beats of his songs like “Battle for Middle You,” production duo Hudson Mohawke and Lunice, better known as TNGHT, broke onto the stage (almost literally, to the sound of breaking glass) with the whistle-blowing “Easy Easy.” The DJ pair—Mohawke from Scotland; Lunice from Canada—felt, in a sense, tamer in a live setting compared to the erratic noise of their self-titled 2012 EP. In part, this was due to the outdoor venue’s sound: This is the music best experienced in a club. Very loud. With room to improvise. Still, the energy was palpable on tracks like the tempo-shifting “Acrylics” and horn-blasting crowd favorite “Higher Ground.” TNGHT received an even higher hip-hop boost as Mobb Deep joined onstage for a surprise rendition of the Queensbridge duo’s “Shook Ones Part II.”
As Disclosure took the stage, fans waved cardboard fans boasting the duo’s signature white face outlines in anticipation. Disclosure have found success by draw from house influences while remaining accessible. As evidenced by their recent debut LP, Settle, their percussion isn’t an afterthought to an over-produced radio chorus, like some radio-ready electronic music, nor are the hooks buried under shifting dubstep beats and bass drops. Live, slick dance floor tracks like “F for You,” which features Howard on vocals and a live bass for added effect, and the driving “When a Fire Starts to Burn” showcase how the brothers man that balance on the stage and with their audience. People aren’t afraid to dance, get lost—and sing along. And when the bass does drop, such as on “White Noise” featuring AlunaGeorge, it’s ecstasy.
The night hit its peak as Jessie Ware joined the pair for “Confess to Me,” as well as a remix of the British singer’s “Running.” Backed by dual percussion, Ware commanded the stage, amping up the tracks, enrapturing the crowd with powerhouse vocals. Fellow Brit singer/songwriter Sam Smith closed out the set with Disclosure for their hit “Latch,” an undeniably sexy, smooth jam that makes the brothers seem wise beyond their years. For anyone not convinced of the DJs’ star power at the get-go, there’s no question they left seduced.