Tycho, Oval Space, London; 26/03/14
I expected that my first experience seeing Tycho live would be an actual ‘experience’, and I was right. It seems odd to say “I went to see a band,” when really it’s more important that you go to hear them. On Wednesday, as wanky as it sounds, I was there to feel Tycho live.
Sitting in on an interview with Scott Hansen the day before, I heard him speak about some of the things that inspire his music – large open spaces, incredible places in the world, like canyons for example. Yet, the first time I listened to ‘Dive’, I felt like I’d been underwater for 51 minutes. ‘Awake’ takes me into air as opposed to water though – clouds are what envelope me when I surrender myself to that album. Both records are incredibly immersive, and even more so seeing it for real.
There is something about Tycho that makes me feel like the least agoraphobic person in the world. It’s what I listen to if I want a situation that would ordinarily stress me out to swim past me without my noticing. When you’re walking through a swarm of people coming from the opposite direction, when you’re late and your car won’t drive over 89mph… Tycho manages to keep me physically controlled and take me to a completely different state of mind. It has a medicinal quality for me, which allows me to breathe and live in a different emotional place whilst I listen to it, and this was almost overwhelmingly enhanced at Oval Space on Wednesday night.
I wasn’t alone either – people were there for a plethora of different reasons that night. A surprisingly male dominated crowd, but a mixture of stoner kids, computer geeks, hipster girls and even a middle aged man at the bar who whooped and fist pumped his enthusiasm sporadically throughout the evening. I felt entirely disconnected in the most beautiful way possible from anybody else in that audience. I didn’t turn to look at my friend to experience the gig with her. We just found our place in the crowd, fixed our eyes on Scott Hansen’s mesmerizing, hypnotic visuals and everyone let the sound soak through them.
The quality of the sound was excellent. The difference it made to the feeling of a song when the deep, resonant synths overpowered your entire body, sending shimmering vibrations through you… It was magical. During ‘Ascension’ I found my eyes fixated on Scott, only just visible underneath a golden beam of light, which continually faded in and out in time with the slowest line of music.
Zac Brown on guitar moved with the music he played so fluidly it was impossible not to find him magnetically attractive, even next to Scott Hansen looking as dreamy and handsome as ever. Another thing you don’t realize with Tycho until you see it live, is the force that the full band brings, the biggest notes in the songs almost blowing you backwards or making something glow inside of you. Some of Rory O’Connor’s quicker drumming changed the energy altogether when the swaying masses tried to suddenly keep up for A Walk, and noticeably more arms became mobile when the almost-vocals on ‘Dive’ swooshed over us.
The gentler, rhythmic strumming on ‘Montana’ in front of the sandy oranges, milky purples and smoky pinks flickering across the shapes of Scott’s visuals was so gorgeous to watch, hear and experience I never wanted it to stop.
I didn’t go for a cigarette all evening. I couldn’t miss a moment. I hope Tycho are back soon, and I hope they continue to produce such incredibly ethereal, therapeutic music, because I can’t think of another gig I’ve been to where I felt like I’d been given an injection of dream-morphine which only started to wear off as my night bus neared home.