Originally, I found out about Ghostly International signed Scott Hansen, best known as Tycho’s live show while checking out Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Rex Theater’s website to see if they’d put up a mention of a show I was doing on July 12th with a few other Electronic artists. Tickets were inexpensive, so two were snagged by my debit card and on July 16th, 2012, my best friend (Kristen) and I took the 45 minute drive to the venue only four days after we’d already been there.
Neither of us knew what to expect. A few Tycho songs had found themselves in my ears on Spotify playlists and downloads from the Ghostly record label and the visual aspects upon Google searching had always ended with very intriguing photography, but knowledge and a respect for the live instrumentation on almost all of the featured tracks from these outlets was all 2020k had went in with.
Onuinu (official website), an unsigned artist from Portland, Oregon played an opening set filled with looped melodies, live guitar/synth playing, and some stunning lyrical content. One of the last songs in the set, “Always Awkward” was particularly a highlight as Dorian Duvall lightheartedly expressed that it was a bit awkward to jam out on the stage of Rex, as it was quite small and filled with gear from both himself and the dormant instruments waiting for Tycho and company. Through the set’s composition, it was a no-brainer that the artist was booked to play a slew of shows with the headliner as the sonics of both artists compliment each other, while remaining pure to their own sense of style.
Duvall asked the lightening staff to keep breaking the lights down, having the venue in almost full darkness for their closing track. After it’s end, he and his musical partner departed the stage, the lights went up, and the wait for Tycho began.
More fans started piling in from the bar. The band walked on stage and “Adrift,” complete with lined projected dots that faded to a dark red screen had started. “Adrift” is one of the more Electronic heavy, mid-tempos Tycho has to offer, but it’s instant ability to grab the audience during a live setting made it a great choice for an opening track. It also contained some of the most layered video aspects of the show. Relying on layers on top of layers of videos to be played that blended in with one another.
One thing that will stand out is how stunning the visual aspect of Scott Hansen’s video and photographical work is just as dense and multidimensional as the music he creates. Throughout the entirety of the set, a projector from the balcony of the venue broadcasted these created images onto a sheet behind them, which also caused some of the projection to be displayed on the band, on the instruments, leaving their shadows on the screen. A very creative approach and one that worked well, having the videos, which more often than not were comprised of a lone woman elegantly wandering through vast open paces, change with the moods of each track.
During the second song, “A Walk,” there was an unfortunate event in which a bad cable was connected to the bass player’s guitar. After the track was completed, Hansen made his way over to the microphone to coyly let us know that we had just heard a special version of the track “which featured the bass coming in and out of the song.” The audience laughed while the wire was quickly replaced, and the rest of the show went on without a hitch.
It’s of note that the bass mishap was not a hindering part of the show. It was noticeable in that the frustrated expressions on stage were rightfully present, but the noise of the dud cable added some static-esque noise to the track, which, of course, from an engineering standpoint makes one want to cringe, but given the genre of music, the incident sounded more like an effect at times, rather than an unwelcome incident.
The actual instrumentation and vibe between Hansen and the other members associated with the live presentation of Tycho was absolute perfection. We’re unsure of who the current drummer associated with the performance is, but this is a word of recommendation to anyone associated with this production: Keep him. He was literally beating the shit out of the drum, following right along with all of the subtle percussive switches that the tracks within the setlist and Tycho music in general are known for. Some of the most awe-inspiring moments were when some of the more complicated rhythmic structures were executed seamlessly throughout the show’s time length. It’s also refreshing to hear such vast live instrumentation at an Electronic show.
After the set, Scott and the band made their way over to the merchandise table to meet with some of the fans of the show. Kristen and I made a dash toward that section of the venue and waited for a very small bit of time before being able to shake his hand, get an autograph and a picture.
(Sorry, Kristen! I didn’t mean to take yours when his eyes were closed. Forgive me!). Scott was all smiles with everyone he’d greeted. Humble, confidently spoken, charismatic, and, well, we know we say this about a lot of the musicians we write about on 2020k, but extremely handsome as well. Originally, I planned to let him know about the blog, to start up a conversation about how I’d played on the same stage just four days before, however, none of that had happened. Instead, the amazement just witnessed through the set was still running rampant through my head. I simply shook his hand, proclaimed I loved the entirety of the show, and quickly asked for an autograph and a picture. He was glad to oblige and the way he presented himself so warmly to myself and the others he interacted with after the show made the post-event worth it.
Before the show, I’d been a casual fan. Depending on mood, sometimes the music Tycho created would seem not applicable for what I’d like to listen to. After this show? Music and message understood. A better appreciation, a longterm fan.
Setlist. (Please correct us if we’re wrong).
Past is Prologue
[brand new track]
Information on Tycho’s summer and fall touring schedule can be found at his official website via Tychomusic.com.
Editor’s note: Thank you to Kristen Adams for the two pictures featured in this article. After the show, Kristen and I made our way over to Jekyl & Hyde (Facebook). A horror themed bar a few blocks down from Rex Theater at 18th street. Highly recommended. Our new hangout spot!