Soft Synths and Hand Puppets

Tycho are an instrumental electronic act hailing from the west coast of the United States, having been around for more than a decade with 4 full length releases. They arrived in Australia as part of the Laneway Festival, and had time to squeeze in a couple of headline shows whilst they were here. The musicianship was fantastic and the band performed well, but seemingly like every concert I go to these days – I found I had gripes with just a few too many things.

Nitemoves begins the show, someone I knew next to nothing of. Nitemoves starts his DJ set in a very odd fashion, playing an extremely dark and shadowy excerpt of sounds and clicks and noises. It makes no sense, and even less sense when he begins into his setlist comprised of mostly pop-style dance tracks. It’s a strange set, and while there were some good moments I found I was completely uninterested with what he was doing. Kudos to him for not getting up there and pushing a button (he twisted knobs and moved sliders too!), but it just didn’t do anything for me tonight.

I hate tardiness. Maybe I’m getting old, but being late is a sign of disrespect in my book. It shows a lack of respect to yourself, and in this case, the audience. Tycho arrive 20mins late onto the stage (around 50mins after Nitemoves finishes – which if you’ve ever been to a concert, is an absolute lifetime) and I can’t help but be a little frustrated. Maybe not a big deal in the scheme of things but I just think it’s unprofessional. Kudos to the girl sitting on the shoulders of her friend, making shadow puppets into the projector on the stage. That hilarity got us through the long wait between acts!

Nevertheless, Tycho begin with the first track from 2016’s Epoch in ‘Glider’. It’s a great opening song, and has the crowd cheering loudly. There are plenty of cuts from their latest release tonight, including ‘Horizon’ and ‘Source’, but we do still get plenty of old favourites. Standouts were ‘Hours’, ‘Awake’ and ‘Daydream’. As with any band these days, there is always a few personal favourites left off the setlist, which doesn’t concern me a great deal tonight as the setlist chosen was still quite a good one.

As much as I love instrumental bands and what they can do with instruments only, I just much prefer vocals. To me a good vocal melody ties the entire song together, and it’s always the singer that makes or breaks an artist for me. Whilst the music that Tycho write do not have the need for such a singer/vocalist, it meant that there were times I felt the music just didn’t quite get there for me. Each to their own.

Closing tonight with their Snow Patrol-esque ‘Montana’, which brings about the loudest cheer of the night, Tycho wrap up a night of spectacular visuals, smooth and dreamy synth lines and sharp guitar work. The highlight for me was the drumming by Rory O’Connor, who I later discover to be Nitemoves! Mind blown. He is a frantic and heavy drummer with impeccable timing and rhythm. A joy to watch.

Tycho for me are like once having a really great time in your life a while ago but thinking back you just can’t remember the details. Every time I listen to any of the albums, I immensely enjoy them, but once I’ve stopped listening I struggle to remember full songs or names. I put that down to not having vocals – which is always what I connect with the most. Regardless, what feelings and emotion they can get out of their chosen instrumentation without having any sort of lyric or vocal line is impressive, and should be commended.

If Tycho come back to Australia, I would definitely recommend seeing them. This being my second time however, I don’t think there is much more they can do to impress me, so I might just be happy listening to them through speakers in the comfort of my living room.

4.0/5.0

Tycho @ Metro Theatre, Sydney. Thursday 2nd February, 2017.

  1. Glider
  2. Division
  3. A Walk
  4. Rings
  5. Awake
  6. Source
  7. Daydream
  8. Horizon
  9. PBS
  10. Hours
  11. L
  12. Epoch
  13. Receiver
  14. Montana
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