For the electronica group Tycho, it’s all about the music. The San Francisco-based group stayed nearly silent during their Black Cat performance on Sept. 21, simply letting their songs mesmerize and energize their audience.
The crowd was already in a trance-like state from the sustained synth chords that echoed throughout The Album Leaf’s opening set. But despite the smooth, soothing rhythms of the group’s songs, the audience was far from falling asleep; The Album Leaf’s music featured a violin, a trumpet, a guitar and vocals, creating a multifaceted sound that kept the audience captivated.
Once Tycho took the stage, the now slightly drunk audience started to push closer together. Projections of arctic waters and glaciers illuminated the band as crescendoing synth arpeggios filled Black Cat’s low-ceilinged second level. Frontman Scott Hansen promptly went to work, switching between his synthesizer, his keyboard and his guitar. Zac Brown strummed out rolling bass rhythms and Rory O’Connor added energy with staccato drum beats.
Tycho played their most popular number, “A Walk,” early on in the performance. Upon hearing Hansen play the song’s gentle melody, audience members smiled and cheered appreciatively. As rumbling rhythms rolled through the crowd, individuals almost involuntarily swayed back and forth. Even some of the most stoic audience members couldn’t help but tap their feet to the song’s upbeat sound. Once the song finished, Hansen walked up to the microphone to thank D.C., his first words of the night. He didn’t speak throughout the rest of the set until thanking the audience once again after closing with “Dive.”
But Hansen emerged from the shadows minutes later, after much appeal from the crowd for an encore. He spoke briefly, announcing that he was performing a brand new track. The untitled song was possibly the most well-received piece of the night. Its sound was uplifting and engaging with high-pitched triplets scattering throughout the bubbly melody. Audience members threw their hands up in the air, openly dancing and cheering appreciatively.
While the audience was focused and engaged on Tycho’s performance, the band didn’t reciprocate the attention. Group members remained intensely focused on their instruments and rarely looked out into the crowd. It seemed as though Tycho wanted to connect to the audience solely through their music, rather than winking and smiling at their fans à la Mick Jagger.
But showmanship and theatricality wasn’t necessary to make Tycho’s performance a veritable show. Despite being awash with the multi-colored images of the projector, the members’ intense passion was palpable to the audience, making for a unique and powerful performance.