Published Oct 18, 2015Having far outgrown both the Hoxton and Danforth Music Hall as performance spaces since their last trip to Ontario's capital, Disclosure greeted a horde of Toronto dance music enthusiasts from a stage that was dwarfed by the surroundings of the air hangar-like Direct Energy Centre, in what was a true link to their garage and house music roots. Now standing as two of the youngest stars at the forefront of electronic music, brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence were returning nearly a month removed from taking their music in a more pop-informed direction with Caracal, a record loaded with special guests and styles much different than the ones that shot them to international fame with Settle. Naturally, material from the former made up the bulk of Saturday night's (October 17) set.
Taking their places behind illuminated horseshoe-shaped desks that held their gear, the brothers Lawrence started the party with familiar fare in "White Noise" and "F For You" before launching into a wealth of tracks from the new LP. Known to have a little more stage presence beyond simply pushing play during live performances, Howard kept himself occupied with a bass guitar and various keyboards, while Guy was in command of electronic drums, auxiliary percussion and even an acoustic tom-tom.
Despite having all this at their disposal, the two left little room to take the songs in a different directions from their studio versions, apart from a few interesting drum fills from the elder Lawrence including acoustic cymbals, granite blocks and even a cowbell. After Howard threw in a few extra notes to spice up the bass line of "White Noise," he stayed locked to simple root notes the rest of the evening. The brothers also made sure to show off their vocal chops, more prevalent than they've ever been on the new record, with Howard leading the way through "Jaded" and "Echoes" in a stable fashion that didn't drastically differ from the studio versions.
The use of live instruments perhaps reached its peak when both brothers took to a hydraulic platform behind their desks, rising up just below the lighting rig to riff away on their stringed instruments during the instrumental bridge of "Nocturnal." It was the one moment where any of the instrument incorporation felt forced, with Guy's singular guitar strumming remaining near inaudible over both Howard's bass and the instrumental track.
But these technical performance aspects weren't the main priority in the slightest for those in attendance. Though the majority still hadn't quite figured out how to dance to 2-step in expert fashion, the infectious "You & Me" and "Holding On" were still received incredibly well. For those who didn't opt to line up for the washroom or hit the bar during the slower numbers, the Lorde-assisted "Magnets" and the incredibly smooth "Willing & Able" were a welcome break from the dancing.
Back-to-back placement of the forceful "Bang That" and "When a Fire Starts to Burn" had the crowd at their most energetic, with the Lawrence brothers seguing between the two by spinning a loop of drums and bass that brought the warehouse as close to a true rave as it had been all evening. An encore saw the two stride back out onto the stage in matching Blue Jays jerseys to perform "Moving Mountains" and the ever-popular "Latch," which had everyone singing as loud as they could.
In bringing more to the stage than their dance music contemporaries, one can only expect Disclosure to become a bit less calculated, and a bit looser, as their live show and music continue to evolve.