Tycho Review

Author: Nathan Haimowitz

Saturday night’s show for Tycho just about marked the halfway point of the band’s tour. A full Sylvee crowd was ready to enjoy a room full of electronic ambience that evening. 

Poolside opened and encouraged the crowd to come closer to the stage as attendees continued to pour into the venue. The band’s “daytime disco” sound was equally suited to the evening and injected energy into the crowd, playing indie dance tracks spanning their entire collection. Their penultimate song, a cover of Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” had full audience participation with fans joining in with Poolside word for word to end the opener’s set on a high note. 

Anticipation built for Tycho as the group’s light and sound technicians set to work installing LED panels on the sides of the stage. A massive curtain was dropped in behind the instruments on which Hansen would VJ a unique display for the Madison crowd. 

The group set up in a U-Shape with the center of the stage completely empty. Rory O’ Connor handled drums in the far right corner and Billy Kim coolly drove the group on bass guitar in the far left. In the near left corner Zac Brown handled synths but mainly took on guitar, expertly riffing with Hansen at times. Hansen took up the near right corner. With such a selfless layout, the visuals were on spellbinding display and the group emphasized their collective harmonic performance. 

The band opened fully cognizant the music was their star performer. Playing fully instrumental meant performing Tycho’s discography before their 2019 release, “Weather”. The familiarity of the songs washed over the audience. The nature driven looping videos in the back (including many of waves crashing and forming) had a similar effect. The audience was captivated. A portion were perfecting their one-two steps, others were caught staring doe-eyed at the scenery, many had their eyes closed with their bodies rocking to the rhythm. 

Hannah Cottrell (Saint Sinner), entered the stage like a prize fighter, tossing aside her red overcoat as she joined the group and took center stage. The band, now a third through their set gained a magnetic presence in the middle of their layout. Here they began playing from “Weather.” With words to lean on, the audience became a cohesive unit, singing along to hits like “Japan’ and Pink & Blue. Cottrell had full command of each note, showcasing impressive range. Songs like those two pitted Cottrell as the show’s star but hearing other songs from the album like “No Stress” and “For How Long” validated Tycho’s decision to add vocals to an album. The reasoning was abundantly clear as the five musicians played together: the band had finally added “the most organic instrument of all, the human voice,” to emphatic success. 

Cottrell exited and the final quarter of the show was dedicated to the Saint Sinner-less tracks on “Weather.” An extended performance of “Into The Woods” proved mesmerizing and the band’s live edits on the track “Jetty” once again had the audience swaying. 

The band’s encore brought Cottrell back to the stage for a heart-stopping rendition of “Skate.” Tycho’s triumphant conclusion came in the song “Division” where Brown and Hansen met at center stage, playing back to back on dueling guitars. 

Hansen made a point earlier of saying to the crowd that across the tour so far this show had been his favorite. As The Sylvee doors opened to let out the crowd the smiles and excited chatter was evidence that the pleasure was mutually held.