It’s one of those nights. Walking across the car park of Galway’s Black Box, the front of which is splayed with the green light of sponsors Heineken, the feeling of excitement is electric. Disclosure’s current popularity is made ever clearer by the lengthy queue forming at the front of the building and the hopeful looks of people milling around searching for an unused plus one. It’s the beauty of the duo’s crossover appeal that every section of music-loving society is represented: from the casual listener that fell in love with ‘Latch’ during its recent radio coverage mulling at the back of the venue cradling their pints, to the hardened clubbers waiting at the front of the throng to take full advantage of the Black Box’s sound system.
As the Lawrence brothers take to the stage, backed by intense visuals, the one thing that immediately stands out is the actual ‘live’ nature of their performance. Starting with ‘F For You’, the only track on the album that doesn’t feature a guest vocalist, Howard Lawrence plays front man faultlessly – showing their reliance on singers from outside the camp to be a preference for collaboration rather than a lack of ability. With live percussion by both from their respective desks it makes a pleasant change from the usual sight of dance acts hiding behind a large bank of electronics. Sliding straight into ‘A Fire Starts to Burn’ after a brief dip to let the crowd calm down their ambitions become clear: they aim to provide not just a run through of their album but an audio/visual spectacle scaled to match their popularity.
Hearing such a relatively new act churn out hit after massive, recognisable hit is a shock to the system. Played through with such comfortable assurance, the tempo is kept securely danceable, even when they blast out more tech-flavoured numbers like ‘Stimulation’ midway. It’s hard to think that the majority of the music is from an album – and a debut no less – from this year, with the duo looking like they have been in this game for years.
Snippets of conversation overheard throughout the night are testament to the group’s massive appeal. While the majority was waiting for Sam Smith’s vocals to drift through the venue on ‘Latch’ (and true, as their final song it does get the biggest reaction of the night), ‘White Noise’ and the sublime ‘Help Me Lose My Mind’ both garner roars from the crowds that drown out their intros. As ‘Latch’ fades out, and the crowd disperse to find somewhere to keep the adventure going, the brothers Disclosure leave the stage having provided what has to be one of the most memorable gigs that the City of Tribes has seen in recent memory.