By far the biggest crowd I was in at Leeds festival today (Friday, August 22) was at the NME/Radio 1 tent for Disclosure’s headline show. It was such a crush that, at one point, about 100 excited people fell over. The moment Guy and Howard Lawrence entered the stage, the audience erupted into deafening screams. The kind of screams reserved for rock stars who’ve been around for decades, not young men who look like they should be presenting Blue Peter.
But they earned them. Here’s five reasons why they’ll be topping the Main Stage at festivals pretty soon.
They already know how to play massive shows
The Lawrence brothers have been touring their debut album ‘Settle’ since May last year across the world. They’ve hardly stopped, and now have a number of significant venues and festivals under their belt: Coachella, Glastonbury, Lollapalooza, The Jimmy Kimmell Show recently. In terms of a festival circuit CV, few other new bands or artists can best it. Not only do they already know how to read and please a crowd, the show can only get bigger. There is scope for the show to grow in sound and aesthetic, powered by other artists they decide to work with. And believe us, there’s a queue of those.
A strong address book
Jessie Ware, Sam Smith, Mary J. Blige, London Grammar have worked with Disclosure already but it’s likely that as their meteoric rise continues they’ll be able to draw in even more high-profile stars. Though they didn’t have any collaborators on stage at Leeds festival, it’s pretty normal for AlunaGeorge to pitch up to support the duo. At the Brits earlier this year, Lorde joined the crew for ‘White Noise’. To be a top festival headliner you’ve got to have the right contacts book and the Lawrence brothers have it. It wouldn’t be insane to suggest an artist as big as, say, Kanye West could jump on one of their tracks.
They’re a credible mainstream act
Disclosure have achieved the near-impossible: they are a credible mainstream act. The critics love them. The charts lap them up. ‘Settle’ was nominated for a Grammy. Despite those who decry the supposed ‘pilfering’ of dance music made before their parents were born, they have revived house-style dance music for thousands of fans. In tune with a lot of chart pop, their lyrics are ‘everyman’ – “I’ll fulfil your desires”, “you keep me running”, “I played the fool for you”, “I don’t need you” – and the kind of sentiments that pretty much everyone can relate to at some time or another. But their sets aren’t run of the mill. At Leeds, they weaved darker, heavier and more challenging moments alongside big pop songs. They’re not willing to compromise on the sounds – and influences behind the sounds – they clearly love.
The most important factor in a headline set is an artillery of tunes with big choruses. And, considering they’ve only got one album, the Reigate producers have plenty. Everyone around me in the crowd tonight knew all the words to ‘Latch’, ‘White Noise’, ‘F For You’ and ‘Help Me Lose My Mind’. They’ve also mastered the ‘drop’ at a time when it’s a crucial tool in a hit song in the 2010s.
Though millions of music fans seem happy to watch men standing behind the glow of a laptop pressing play, Disclosure have created a live show that’s actually interesting to be in front of. Guy is actually a really impressive drummer and Howard looks like he’s in his element playing the bass guitar and other synths and drum pads. The visuals at Leeds festival are slick and engrossing, from spiralling Rubik’s cubes to burning flames and geometric shapes pulsing and morphing in time to the music. If tonight’s anything to go by, the brothers have a lot of even bigger stages ahead of them.