The Santa Barbara Bowl was illuminated with lasers and energy last Wednesday night as house music’s most popular pair of brothers, Disclosure, played the Santa Barbara stop on their “You’ve Got To Let Go If You Want To Be Free” tour. The diverse crowd, aged 8 to 80, danced the night away as the DJ duo played an intoxicating and hallucinogenic set, assisting in celebrating the herbal holiday of 4/20.
As the opener DJ BORING took the stage, fog machines filled the Santa Barbara Bowl with a dense white covering — a covering that would later assist in the light show accompanying Disclosure’s performance. DJ BORING was an easy choice on behalf of Disclosure for an opener. Both Disclosure and BORING originated in the London house scene, and both have had many viral hits in their time as active artists. DJ BORING is most well known for his song “Winona,” which broadly encapsulates the lo-fi house vibe he crafts in his lengthy and celestial beats. However, on Wednesday, the Santa Barbara Bowl did not necessarily feel this energy from BORING. As the sun set over the venue, DJ BORING’s low frequency was drowned out by the excitement-fueled chatter of attendees ready for Disclosure to take the stage. This was not because BORING was playing a bad set, but because it was clear that the low-key music spun did not contain energy levels even close to what Disclosure was about to bring to the stage.
Just around 8:15 p.m., Disclosure’s set started as a beat resembling that of the hearts of excited fans across the crowd accompanied by flashing lights, revealing a raised DJ booth with Disclosure nowhere to be found. Instead, the soft British voice of Aluna played in a haunting echo, “All I hear is … All I hear is … ,” and just when the audience thought the duo was about to start with their hit song, “White Noise,” a man’s voice came on the speakers. “Raise your hands in the sky, that’s the love, that’s the love.” By this point, the crowd went wild, and then just when the voice ended, Aluna’s voice faded back in. “Just gonna get knocked back, just gonna get knocked back, just gonna get knocked back.” Howard and Guy Lawrence of Disclosure took the stage and initiated the hit song opener of “White Noise,” and the crowd, from the barrier to the back seat, went wild. Once the show had started, the hits did not stop coming. Flawless transitions that teased the more recognizable parts of each song brought screams among the crowd and smiles upon the audience. People all throughout the venue danced as the duo spun tunes like “F For You,” “What’s In Your Head,” “Holding On” and “Waterfall” — which was undoubtedly a major highlight of the night, being one of Disclosure’s newer and more catchy songs.
The potent energy was kept up throughout the performance, partially thanks to the interaction Disclosure kept up with the crowd. “It’s so much fun. They just want us to keep dancing,” UC Santa Barbara senior Bella Gentile said.
At the beginning of the third act of the show, when it would be assumed that the energy may be at a low, Disclosure faded into “ENERGY,” a song led by the voice of Eric Thomas, a motivational speaker who was featured on one of the DJ’s more popular early songs, “When A Fire Starts To Burn.” The track spoke with booming bass through speakers all throughout the venue.
“Right now, you should feel invincible / Powerful, strong, look / Where your focus goes, your energy flows / Are you hearin’ me?”
As the bass dropped after this line, visuals of various colorful, exotic nature scenes quickly flashed on the screen, and by the end of the song, the massive screen behind the DJ booth zoomed out on the planet, taking the audience into space. To accompany this, Guy Howard asked the audience to shine their phone flashlights in the air, creating the perfect ambiance to bring in The Weeknd’s nimble falsetto on Disclosure’s “Nocturnal.”
The general consensus among the crowd was that the fan-favorite performance of the evening was the duo’s performance of their 2013 Sam Smith-led hit, “Latch.” Genuinely being a song that has aged perfectly and can never be overplayed, Disclosure knew how badly the audience wanted to hear the anthem. So, after taking a break to thank the crowd, Howard and Guy Lawrence started to tease the opening notes of “Latch,” a familiar two-note beat drop that sounds like it is coming from an EDM infant of your dreams. The teasing continued for at least a couple of minutes, slowing up and speeding down the opening notes as bright white lights flashed across the Santa Barbara Bowl.
“How bad do you want it, Santa Barbara?!” shouted Howard Lawrence multiple times, with the crowd screaming louder and louder with each questioning yell. Finally, the bass dropped into the song, and the whole audience began jumping, creating even deeper vibrations in the ground than the bass brought. The set closed with an amusing performance of “Tondo,” leaving the audience with a joyful aura and memories of the night they would never forget.
Disclosure has 22 U.S. dates left on their current tour. House music fans and those who like to have a good time alike should prioritize making any of these shows, for they are destined for a night of great music, stellar visuals and incredible vibes all around.