Disclosure’s ‘Wild Life’ invades the Greek

Disclosure_JAMES3Photos by Sam Heller & James Nagel // Written by Molly Kish & Mike Frash //

Disclosure‘s “Wild Life 2014” with Claude VonStroke vs. Justin Martin, Kaytranada, Bishop Nehru //
Greek Theatre – U.C. Berkeley
April 18th, 2014 //

Dance shows have been few and far between at U.C. Berkeley’s Greek Theater over the years (Daft Punk & Amon Tobin are among the few electronic shows that have happened at the Greek), but one of the most popular and influential dance acts on the planet, Disclosure, headlined a mini-one-day-fest dubbed “Wild Life” at the intimate theatre Friday, and the name ended up matching the scene appropriately.


Neon-wear was kept to a minimum as the audience appeared to be more “Yuma” than “Sahara” tent in nature, which makes sense given the IDM over EDM artist curation of the evening. The inner-bowl floor section of the sold out Greek was pretty much at maximum capacity by 7:30pm, and it continued to compress all night while the corners of the seating area and grass section were vacant. It seems most dance music enthusiasts will defer to bass over space every time.

17-year-old rapper & producer Bishop Nehru got things going with a brief, scorching set. Kaytranada then took over on the decks with his hip-hop oriented sound patterns, offering a flavor of trap that’s far from abrasive, mixing repetitive melodies with garage drum & bass. Once the sun began set, it was Claude VonStroke & Justin Martin’s turn, and unsurprisingly, things got a bit dirty.


SF-based Dirtybird founder VonStroke and partner in crime Martin joined together for a set marketed as “Claude VonStroke vs. Justin Martin”, but the set hardly felt back to back due to its unified focus. The performance was well-paced and diverse in its curation while consistently staying within the ethos of the Dirtybird backbone — playful, minimal tech-house. The volume was teasingly-low to begin the set, eliciting a “turn that shit up” chant from the rabid shoulder-to-shoulder floor crowd. Within minutes, the sound equalized and the full energy of the theater got on the train for the duration of a fun, bouncy set, something that was mentioned as a “dream come true.”


Disclosure finally took to the stage, kicking off their set full-force with the crowd-stirring remix of “F for You”, accompanied by CGI Mary J. Blige on back-up vocals. Maintaining the energy percolating in the crowd, the duo rolled rolled right into the breakout hit off Settle, “When a Fire Starts to Burn”. Igniting the amphitheater into a dancing frenzy, everyone from the ground-floor pit to the hillside above chanted along with the lively chorus, mesmerized by the band’s intense light show. Utilizing the unique proximities of the outdoor venue, Disclosure brought their stunning festival stage design and atmospheric optics with them to the Greek.


Aside from their worldwide hit singles, Disclosure played several deeper cuts off of their 2012 EP The Face, including “Tenderly” and “Flow” along with their own remix of “Running”, their 2011 collaboration with Jessie Ware. With several performers both touring through the Bay Area and on layover between weekend sets at the Empire Polo Club, murmurs of surprise guests circulated heavily leading up to this showcase. Nearing the end of their set, the crowd grew antsy in anticipation, waiting to hear two of the largest hits off of the band’s platinum full length debut. Promising the captivated crowd a few more songs to conclude their epic set, Disclosure broke into an encore sing along of “Help Me Lose My Mind”, and a live-vocal final song featuring special guest Sam Smith on “Latch,” which caused the entire crowd go out on a wild, extremely loud note.

It’s refreshing to witness intelligent dance music prospering, playing to an enthusiastic & packed Greek Theater Berkeley. Disclosure are revamping contemporary dance music by repurposing past dance elements into poppy, progressive packages, influencing mainstream music in a meaningful way.

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