LIVE REVIEW: Tycho @ The Greek Theatre

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Tycho at The Greek Theatre (photo via Tycho’s Facebook page)

The drive to The Greek Theatre from the Westside gives you just enough time to gauge how late you might be, staring out into the fast lines of traffic. When I finally got to the parking lot, I was greeted by a few Hare Krishna devotees gathering money to help feed the homeless in Venice. I felt a little bad taking their peace sticker for cash, but they were insistent. The Greek Theatre is a classic Los Angeles venue that up until last weekend I’d somehow missed entirely. Along with the traffic and our Hare Krishna friends, its location up in the hills feels like a scene right out of Mad Men.

Todd Terje and The Olsens were already on stage when I arrived. The crowd floated into the venue, $8 glasses of wine in hand, bodies moving fluidly to their seats. There may not be a bad seat in the house, with all angles catching a good portion of the stage. The last time I saw Todd Terje, he was raging on stage at Life Is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas, and I don’t mean raging in the good way (festival techs had left his laptop to fry in the sun, causing his 45 minute set to shrink to 18 minutes). I had been looking forward to seeing him again, under better circumstances. Strips of thin vertical lights were set up around the band, flashing rainbows at the audience. The crowd was dressed for dancing, and the energy was high.

We were not disappointed this time around. The band was tight, the music winding up and setting loose some modern disco. An older man up front sporting a beard and a Wilco shirt perfectly encapsulated the feeling of being there: dancing with wild abandon, arms akimbo, smile flashing toward the setting sun. It was an energetic set, the kind of warmup needed before our more ambient main act.

Tycho has always made the kind of jams you play when you need to really focus at work. The kind of music a serial killer listens to when he’s meditating. Music played during the dark third act of a Sam Mendes film. The band seems to have a pretty good idea of what imagery their music conjures for the average person, creating a backdrop for the show that was a kind of 80s fantasy: b-roll footage of cars driving up winding roads; slow moving, abstract shapes. Scott Hansen, the brains (and designer) behind Tycho’s sound and image, described his vision to Outside Online, saying, “In the beginning, I was truly trying to take what I felt when I was in a field or in an outdoor space and directly translate it into the music. That was the only way I found I could do it: I was a visual artist before, but I don’t feel like my skills ever caught up with the vision.

The show is slow ache, a measured, ever-building march toward a crescendo. If the crowd had been of one mind in the previous set, we truly came together during Tycho. There’s a feeling of unity, a kind of quasi-spiritual nature to the music. Our group had a great spot to the left of the stage, but chose to climb higher mid-set in order to fully appreciate the visuals. At the top of the seating area, we observed the band, the crowd, and the rising moon. The venue was modeled after a Greek temple, a modern place of worship among the rolling hills.

Driving home, there was a feeling of relaxation. Los Angeles moves slowly at that time of night, cars all headed in opposite directions. The show offered a great feeling of release, a glass of wine at the end of a long week. When you live in a city, sometimes you’re overcome with the angry drivers, the metal structures surrounding you at every turn. Tycho makes music that reminds you to look toward the hills, to climb up, and gaze out at the nature poking up past the concrete.

Tycho is touring NOW. See tour dates and buy tickets HERE[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

TRACK REVIEW: Todd Terje and Bryan Ferry “Johnny and Mary”


DJ and songwriter Todd Terje is a huge figure in the Norwegian dance scene. He’s messed around with classic disco, collaborated with the likes Franz Ferdinand, and created a great deal of upbeat originals. “Johnny and Mary”, a cover of Robert Palmer’s 1980 hit, is a feature from his upcoming album. Bryan Ferry, of Roxy Music, joins him for a second time in this collaboration. Together they’ve made a lasting recreation.

The downtempo complements Bryan Ferry’s hoarse narration of a couple falling apart. There’s a strong sense of atmosphere with a kind of constant fluttering that makes the story play out with a dreamy distance. The beat, the bass is mild, in no way overwhelming the way it can be in so many dance song. It’s refreshing. Somehow it seems that this classic melody should be heard through synth and electro mist.


Ferry’s voice sounds a bit strained, doesn’t have the punch of a Roxy Music song, but works really well for this song, especially considering the subject matter.  He’s the channel between the audience and the distant melancholy created by the synth waves. When he repeats “Running around” the strain sounds right. This is an emotional song, but mostly in a tired, apathetic way. That Johnny and Mary are close to giving up is evident in Ferry’s tone. It’s pretty incredible.

Check out Todd Terje and Bryan Ferry’s cover of “Johnny and Mary” below: