With DJ Unorthadox’s support beats reverberating through KOKO’s entrance tunnel, it was clear Disciples’ headline show at the Camden hotspot wouldn’t be an evening for the feint-hearted. Descending into the cavernous centre of the venue, signs suggesting “Disciples -9pm, Curfew -11pm” instantly rung thoughts of “2 hours?!? Do they have 2 hours of tunes?”
The answer was a resounding, no. At this point in their career – that was a good thing.
Disciples are new to performing live. Until tonight, their only live iteration had been as a DJ set, with lead singer Nathan Duvall jumping around the front of the stage brandishing a microphone, beating the audience into submission. This is the Disciples one may (vaguely) remember from Glastonbury 2016.
Tonight, however, was very much a second coming. Slick. Smart. Sedulous and Unstoppable.
They walked on to a roar, launching into a seamless and on-point set, whilst colouring the air with throbbing, fresh house, peppered with intricate melodies and vocals that stroked the eardrums as they hit.
Backed by a full band and backing singers swaying in and out of an erratic lazer show, the set was a masterclass. Early tunes like ‘They Don’t Know’ were sprinkled amongst bigger offerings (‘Daylight’). They hit the bar at the back and refract out, immersing the room in a sunshine sound that transported away from cold London toward a warm, yellow field a long distance away. If only for a second anyhow.
However, once that first roar was over, that ‘sell-out crowd’ seemed to be distant. Even latest offering ‘48 hours’, with its almost obnoxiously optimistic disposition, juxtaposed with the repeated refrain “you can lose your mind” and Luke McDermott’s Gil Scott Heron-esque ramblings about bright white walls weren’t enough to entice the crowd out of their inertia.
It wasn’t until ‘Jealousy’ that they looked even remotely tuned into the conversation the band were having, and it wasn’t until set-closer ‘How Deep is your Love’ that attendees started to properly engage. Encore \On My Mind’ was [unfortunately] the first time that the crowd looked like they understood what was going on. This, in spite of the band laying out banger after banger, including a belting re-working of Crystal Waters’ ‘Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless)’.
The problem, if you can call it that, with Disciples, is that they’re currently playing a main stage sunset slot at midday in a small tent full of fucked and confused people who haven’t gone to bed yet.
In reality, that’s no bad thing. One thing in life is certain – and that, is the midday sun will always set, stretching out across the sky. Be ready when it does though, because their star will rise, and you might find it leading you to the birth of a new house messiah.