It’s no secret that I’m a huge house head. It’s also no secret that I think highly of UK garage duo Disclosure. I blame them almost exclusively with returning pure house to the public eye, as well as drawing attention to great new artists AlunaGeorge and Jessie Ware.
Of course, listening to a dance music album through headphones is never really doing it justice. You have to see a band live to know how their music really works. Settle is a great record — I already knew that — but I finally got to know how it worked live at The Fonda Theatre on October 18th.
The night opened with DJ T.Williams manning the decks. The crowd filtered in to the thumping rhythms of “future bass” and “deep house” — essentially the trendy, bass-heavy house music that’s come into vogue with Disclosure’s rising popularity. This is the type of music that found its way out of Chicago clubs back in the nineties to eventually become UK garage. Funny. Back then this same music filled dance clubs with young, attractive guys and girls. Fast forward ten years and basically nothing has changed.
T.Williams knew what he was doing. He stuck to playing the likes of Gorgon City and Hot Since 82 as well as his own music. I also noticed he made sure to spin the track “J.A.W.S.” from Lxury. That one is a new house record co-produced by Guy Lawrence (one half of Disclosure). It predictably whipped the crowd into a bouncing, jostling mess. Everyone was moving. This was a house show, after all; I should’ve assumed that people wouldn’t be shy.
It’s important to note, though, that T.Williams’ set was not the same type of music as Disclosure’s. The kind of bobbing shuffle that you get with deep house and tech house is not the same type of energy that Disclosure draws from the crowd. When they came on, the mood shifted from a pleasant buzz to an energetic bounce.
This was honestly one of the happiest crowds I’ve experienced in recent memory and not because everyone was rolling balls either. They were legitimately happy. Everyone knew every word and danced like they were losing their minds. There’s something to be said for a show with a great vibe. Sure, there was the occasional clique trying to bulldoze their way to the stage, but generally people weren’t assholes.
A key difference between Disclosure and your average DJ is that they play their instruments live. Howard Lawrence managed the percussion while his brother Guy handled the guitar and the keys. Both took on mixing duties. Playing live allowed them a bit of creativity to ensure that each song didn’t sound exactly the same way it does on the album. It made the set feel like a special experience. Sweet psuedo-3D visuals didn’t hurt.
Disclosure played the bulk of their debut album, Settle, including crowd favorites “When a Fire Starts to Burn” and “White Noise,” as well as their hit “Latch.” They also played a few cuts from their The Face EP. I was a little surprised (and really happy) they played “What’s In Your Head.” That song was the one that convinced me that sexy, sexy house music could actually find a popular audience with the current generation of electronic music fans.
I feel like any time you can walk out of a concert covered in happy sweat is a good time. It’s impressive that Settle is Disclosure’s first album simply considering how strong it is. If anything, it just goes to show you how strong this type of dance music has been. Disclosure never really does anything that couldn’t have conceivably been done with UK garage years ago. What they’ve managed to do is bring it back to an audience that never got a chance to hear it the first time.
If the flailing limbs and happy shouts are any indication, I’m thinking that the new audience likes it. They like it a lot.