Fillmore Miami Beach
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Better Than: Hearing dance music at a South Beach megaclub.
"What do you think they will start with?" I wondered before Disclosure took the stage at the Fillmore Miami Beach. "Probably, 'F For You' or 'When a Fire Starts to Burn.' My guess would be 'When a Fire Starts to Burn' in order to bring the energy from the get-go."
"That sounds really cliche," my friend quipped.
When the lights dimmed at 10:20, though, the unmistakable intro of "F For You" kicked off the show. I was almost right.
Unfortunately, it wasn't the new Mary J. Blige rework of the track. But here was Disclosure, performing live in Miami outside of Ultra Music Festival. (I actually missed that performance because the festival put them on fairly early.)
At least I was right about one thing: the song immediately got the sold-out crowd dancing and signing along.
Disclosure's climb from a pair of underground producers to popular dance music act seemingly happened overnight. But the duo's contribution to the genre was cemented with the release of 2013's Settle, which meshed deep house, techno, electro, and UK garage with pop song structures.
Once these brothers won over critics, it was only a matter of time until the crowds would come around too. And their performance at the Fillmore was packed with people who paid just to see them -- not even a year ago at Ultra, they barely drew much of a crowd. But this weekend, the Disclosure boys proved, even at such a young age, why they deserve a headlining tour.
The stage setup was similar to the visuals from the "F For You" video. Each brother performed behind a mountain of equipment, which included synthesizers, drum machines, MIDI controllers, foot pedals, and more. Occasionally, they would bring out a bass guitar and sing live. But for the most part, the sounds -- including vocals -- were triggered by the machines before them.
However, this was not a DJ set by any means. There was plenty of improvisation that stretched out songs or gave familiar basslines a new life.
After "F For You" morphed into "A Fire Starts to Burn" (see? I wasn't completely wrong), the crowd quickly went into the kind of frenzy that this Southern-Baptist-sermon-meets-rave-cut seems to ask of the listener.
But as quickly as those high-energy tracks had everyone sweatin', Disclosure switched gears and showcased deep cuts "Boiling," "Tenderly," and "Flow," three tracks that aren't on their breakthrough album Settle, appeasing those fans who've been with the brothers from the start.
"We've done Holy Ship and Ultra," acknowledged the brothers during a rare break. "We're a big fan of this city."
And, arguably, Miami is a big fan of yours, Disclosure.
The set was heavy with tracks from Settle, including standouts like "Stimulation," "Grab Her," and "White Noise." But the real showstopper was the back-to-back performances of "What's in Your Head" and "Confess to Me." If Disclosure's live show has a climax, this might as well be it. The dark techno backdrop of "Confess" is a sound rarely heard in Miami -- a city addicted to straight-up house music and generic EDM -- except at venues like Electric Pickle or Treehouse. So hearing it in a large venue like Fillmore was a treat.
Closing out the show was "Help Me Lose My Mind" and "Latch," which served at the de facto encore. Except for the lights cutting out for about ten seconds, the brothers never left the stage. Instead of the teasing the crowd with the promise of an encore, Disclosure decided not to interrupt the set with the unnecessary ritual of having the crowd beg for one more.
The last two tracks were "sung" by Disclosure's iconic logo, the drawn face that appears virtually everywhere and anywhere the band is being promoted. It was an interesting visual -- reminiscent of Kraftwerk's "Techno Pop" era -- if a bit corny.
A little corniness aside, the visuals were stunning.
It wasn't exactly Daft Punk's pyramid setup (then again, what is?), but the lighting was deceivingly simple, flexing its muscle as the show progressed, before eventually morphing into an orgy of color that probably needed an epileptic seizure warning.
Disclosure couldn't have had a better proper Miami debut as headliners.
Personal Bias: Actually, I have none. As someone who just turned 30 last year, the jealousy/shame/embarrassment I feel when I hear such young kids make such awesome music causes me great pain.
Overheard in the Crowd: "Who the hell is Disclosure?" OK, so we didn't hear this at the Fillmore but at the afterparty at Grand Central. I still can't believe people don't know who they are.
By the Way: Disclosure did play the Mary J. Blige rework of "F For You" at the afterparty.
-"F For You"
-"When a Fire Starts to Burn"
-"You & Me"
-"What's in Your Head"
-"Confess to Me"
-"Running" (Disclosure Remix)
-"Running" (VIP Remix)
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-"Help Me Lose My Mind"