And Finally Artist News Beef Of The Week

CMU Beef Of The Week #161: Disclosure v live music

By | Published on Friday 14 June 2013


It was the Capital FM Summertime Ball last Saturday, an annual event that first took place at Arsenal ground Emirates Stadium in 2009, before shifting slightly west to Wembley Stadium for each year since. As big pop events go, it’s certainly one of them.

This year’s ‘ball’ was opened by The Wanted, headlined by Robbie Williams and featured artists like Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Psy, AlunaGeorge, The Saturdays, Jessie J, Rudimental and more than you’d think could fit into a day’s entertainment besides – 30 in total, if you don’t count JLS’s Marvin Humes’ DJ set. Which we don’t.

Split across two stages, sets are short, timings are tight and hits are expected. It’s like any other big pop show you might have attended or seen on TV, really.

Anyway, riding high on the knowledge that their debut album was about to go to number one, Disclosure were the third act of the day, appearing on stage while the sun was still blazing, making it bright enough to see exactly what they were doing up there. And as Toronto-based website I Love Bass Music pointed out on its Facebook page – asking “Did Disclosure just pull a David Guetta?” – what Disclosure were doing up there seemed to be very little indeed.

Now, to be fair to I Love Bass Music, there’s no reason for people in Toronto to have any idea what Capital FM or its Summertime Ball is. And to further be fair, it’s a pretty funny picture. Although not as funny as the Duke Dumont picture the site also posted, at which point they might have noticed a theme emerging.

But on the other hand, you can see why the huge amount of attention the Facebook post attracted annoyed the duo’s Guy Lawrence enough to provoke him into posting a very lengthy semi-rant in the comments section under it.

“Hello I Love Bass Music and everyone who is talking about this photo”, he wrote. “So, here is how and why this happened. Capital FM made us do this show with a backing track playing but allowed the vocalists to sing. They said that they had to trigger the tracks themselves to sync visuals. We pleaded with them for weeks and weeks to let us play fully live or at least let us mix but they just weren’t having it. You will also notice this was the same for a lot of the dance acts playing that day (ie the Duke Dumont pic you posted)”.

He continued: “Notice also that we didn’t try and make it look like we were mixing. We left the fucking plug on the floor on purpose, didn’t even plug phono leads into the master out, turned all the EQs fully down and the master out AND DIDNT EVEN TAKE HEADPHONES for god sake! If at any point we touched the mixer it was… well, you try standing in front of 80,000 people and not touching the mixer… go on… it’s really hard hahaha!”

I will definitely do that next time I’m in front of 80,000 people with a mixer. Anyway, as previously observed, all this is pretty much par for the course when it comes to big pop shows with tight turnarounds and an audience expecting an accurate representation of the tracks they’ve been enjoying on the radio.

With the record set straight, Lawrence also pointed out that while he and his brother had been forced into this situation, when David Guetta et al get accused of miming, it’s generally at shows – either festivals or their own headline dates – where they are able to choose exactly how ‘live’ their performance is. Disclosure, at least, do usually make a bit of an effort.

Concluding as tactfully as possible to a radio station that has helped in no small part in getting his album to the top of the charts, Lawrence wrote: “It was a very strange experience and one we will not be going through again. Capital have been amazing to us and they play our songs roughly 400 times a week across their various networks and we wanted to thank them for all the support”.

Yes, thanks Capital FM for reminding us of the days when miming was a real artform, which led us to put together this YouTube playlist: