On Sunday night, the McDonald Theatre was filled with a swaying crowd and the ambient music of Tycho – the four-piece San Francisco band who favors blissful synths and sunset gradients.
Tycho is producer Scott Hansen, along with Zac Brown (bass) — who bears no relation to the country singer — and Rory O’Connor (drums). Although Hansen released his first EP back in 2002, Tycho is most known for 2011 album Dive and 2014 album Awake, which spurred performances on the music festival circuit last year. Eugene was the first stop on the group’s spring 2015 tour.
Electronic musician SHIGETO, a fellow Ghostly International act, opened the show. By the time Tycho started a little past 9 pm, both levels of the McDonald were nearly filled with people, despite Monday being the start of finals for students.
After the first song, Tycho received an explosive applause that matched more of what I imagine the McDonald’s recent J. Cole concert received than I would have expected for the laidback nature of Tycho. But as the set progressed, the band supplemented dreamy synth vibes with catchy bass riffs that rounded out the ambient sound. Seeing Tycho in concert effectively convinced me that they’re an act that’s worth going to see, not just to accompany study sessions or to fall asleep to.
The band has become famous for their aesthetically pleasing stripped down album art, which features a circle with a gradient of colors present in a sunset. The onstage backdrop was evocative of this same aesthetic, features kaleidoscope images of the same colors mixed with montage video footage of indie girls, the sky and sand.
Tycho succeeded in providing a stimulating experience, bringing their music from people’s bedrooms to the stage.