Tycho is the musical manifestation of San Francisco based artist Scott Hansen. Scott creates beautiful, atmospheric instrumental landscapes that remind you of looking at a sunrise as you roll down the highway with your hand out the window feeling the air rushing by.
Scott was also known as ISO50, under that name he developed as a visual artist and eventually began creating music that represents his visual style. Scott has moved on from ISO50 into Tycho being a full time gig, where he is not only the musician but he creates all of the album artwork and even the posters for the shows.
Tycho has evolved from a solo project with a sampled style of music compared to Boards of Canada or DJ Shadow into something that feels like an ambient instrumental version of M83 or El Ten Eleven. The evolution from solo artist to a full live band seemed to be an organic process much like his visual work. Check out the track “See” from Tycho’s most recent LP titled Awake, released by Ghostly International.
Tycho with Beacon
March 29, 2015
Door: 7pm, Show: 8pm
I was told, “Southern hospitality is best where the south meets the north and, honey, it don’t get no better than Louisville.” They were right, because the city of Louisville whole-heartedly opened its arms to embrace the Forecastle Music Festival like we were all cousins, back for a big family reunion. It turned out to be ground zero for that amazing southern charm and drawl, with a dash of weird mixed in. References to famous journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson (born in Louisville) were numerous, and his eccentric spirit has certainly rubbed off on the youth and the city. Between the food, the people and the music, I’m convinced that Forecastle is one of the best “little” music festivals around.
Before the gates opened Friday, I was on the hunt for some local grub. I wound up at Smoketown USA where I was greeted by the owner – a guy in overalls who goes by the name of “Redneck Jew”. To say the least, the guy’s a character. I said to myself, “A redneck Jew that makes BBQ? This is going to be interesting,” but I was not disappointed. They brought out a killer spread of ribs, pulled pork, greens and sweet jalapeño cornbread. Not only was the food good, but all of the furniture and art on the walls was for sale; it was a little like eating lunch at a yard sale.
Working my way through crooked streets and neighborhoods that seemed to be screaming for gentrification, I stopped in New Louisville (Nulu) to make a visit to the Louisville Beer Store. About this time, I found out my lodging for the night fell through- a common problem for out-of-town Forecastle attendees. Luckily, the crew from Country Boy Brewing was at the store to do a showcase of their beer line and, upon hearing of my bad luck, those guys and gals started making phone calls to find me a place to stay. Unfortunately, they had no luck… but they presented me with a flight of their beers, on the house, as a condolence. Although I was happier with a little beer in my belly, at this point I needed to scoot the Festival.
The first band on my schedule for Forecastle’s opening day was the Black Lips. The Atlanta group has a new album out that was produced by Patrick Carney of the Black Keys. I was hoping for their usual rowdy show, which they delivered with high energy and a lot of spitting.
As I stumbled around the grounds I made my way to Gary Clark Jr., who just won a Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Performance. This guy can tear it up with the best of them. It’s hard not to think he may have done this in a previous lifetime.
Nightmares on Wax came all the way from Leeds, England to smack the crowd upside the head with a live set of old school hip hop. These dudes delivered, but the crowd seemed timid; I guess they were expecting a DJ set instead. N.O.W. performing a live set doesn’t happen very often anymore, so it was a treat – even if it wasn’t what the crowd expected.
As I stood waiting to see Action Bronson, a security guard began telling the crowd that he had cancelled. The guy next to me was really pissed off. He said, “I’ve tried to see Action Bronson seven times and he’s cancelled five out of those seven.” I, too, was pretty excited to see him, but after learning of his attendance record, I might not put much effort into future opportunities to see him – which sucks for both of us.
I moved on from the vacant stage to see Spoon put on a killer set, like true professionals would. I expected nothing less from the Austin City rockers. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay long because the crowd was growing in anticipation of Outkast’s headlining set.
Outkast. What can I say? They’re legends. Their first album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, came out came out 20 years ago. I know Louisville isn’t Atlanta, but damn they treated us like we were family. Hit after hit, they blew the crowd up. I looked up during the set to see a light mist in the sky, but I couldn’t feel anything. Body heat seemed to dissipate the spray right before it could touch the smoldering crowd. I met lots of “old school players and new school fools”. We all agreed that “ ’Kast keep it jumpin’ like kangaroos” and “I be god dammit, they done changed the rules.”
All photos by John Ellison.
My first jam for Saturday was with Spanish Gold, a side project from Patrick Hallahan, the drummer for My Morning Jacket. They hit me with funky little rock tunes emitting undertones reminiscent of the Black Keys.
Forecastle turned up the funk and soul with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. Before their set I ran into Bosco, the lead guitar for the Dap Kings, out in the crowd. We chatted about their recent tour that kicked off at almost the moment Sharon was done with her last treatment in her battle with cancer. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings just got back to the states from a lengthy European tour and Forecastle was their last show before they went home. And with home in site, they livened up the crowd before they got down with some dirty dancing.
Even though Band of Horses was formed in Seattle, lead singer Ben Bridwell hasn’t forgotten his South Carolina roots. Soft spoken to begin with, the band slowly joined the Ben on stage to progress the set of new and old tracks into an orgasm of sound.
As every square inch of grass filled with toes and trash, the Jack White stage crew prepared for lift off. The stage crew looked like Amish gangsters, with their lengthy ZZ Top-esque beards and Blues Brothers style suits. The crowd was filled with Jack White fans of all types: The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather, or any of the bands on his Third Man Record label.
In front of me I met a Third Man Family. Mom, Dad and Daughter were all wearing Third Man shirts. I leaned over to the Dad and said “Your family has good taste.” He looked at me and replied, “I have three daughters. One likes One Direction, the other likes Taylor Swift, and my youngest likes Jack White. I GOT ONE!” I think she was about 8 years old. Later on, during the show, White had the mom and daughter pulled from the crowd to watch from the side of the stage. The dad looked at me with tears in his eyes, pointing to the side of the stage, repeatedly exclaiming, “That’s MY DAUGHTER!” I’ve never seen a parent more proud… and I was proud of her too.
I’ve never seen a shuttle launch in person, but it’s the only thing I could compare Jack White’s set to. That, or the explosion of a nuclear bomb. It was a truly mind-blowing performance. White appeared as though he wanted to make eye contact with every single person in the crowd. He played his ass off for the front row… and for those in the parking lot across the street just trying to catch as much noise as possible.
To the audience’s surprise and delight, White played an additional 30 minutes after his set time should have ended. Being from Detroit and a certified music genius, it’s probably easy to lose track of time, especially when he’s mashing up “Icky Thump” and “99 Problems” with lines like, “I got 99 problems but the bitch ain’t home!” I’ve always been a fan of The White Stripes, but Jack White’s set has converted me into a disciple of anything the Detroit Savior has to offer.
All photos by John Ellison.
I began the final day for Forecastle with Blue Sky Black Death, a production duo coming out of Seattle, Washington. These two pump out dirty beats that had the crowd feeling like we were all on purple drank.
Chrome Sparks followed Blue Sky Black Death with a beautifully layered electronic experience. The electronic/ambient/dance group shook the crowd from their BSBD haze and brought them into a jazzy set full of delightful ear candy.
I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to see Sun Kill Moon (the guy has a catalog that goes back 23 years) but I’m glad I did because it was worth the wait. I was lost and the crowd was lost, swooning to the spoken words of Mark Kozelek. His lyrics are rooted in depression and the perils of life. He seems to be able to sing what we all wish we could say. Track him down; he’s worth it.
One of my most anticipated acts of the weekend was Tune-Yards, the audio kaleidoscope outfit founded by New England native Merrill Garbus. Her approach is so fresh. Tune-Yards’ live sets are full of layered vocals, drum loops, ukulele, dirty bass and some of the best back up dancers and singers around. I look forward to following Merril on her musical exploration.
The alternative rock legends that are known as The Replacements have influenced an entire genre and generation of artists. One such artist is Billie Joe Armstrong (the front man for Green Day), who was on stage to help carry Paul Westerberg and the veteran rockers through a set of youth anthems like “Bastards of Young” and “Cant Hardly Wait.” Seeming to stumble at moments, Westerberg’s outbursts and banter pleased the crowd nonetheless. The guy next to me said, “Yeah, they’re old fucks, but they still rock harder than half these Indie kids.” I couldn’t disagree.
As Beck started his set with “Devils Haircut” a fuse was lit that ignited the crowd and got them out of their sets and onto their feet. Soon we were all mimicking his funked-up Michael Jackson dance moves. Not long after, Beck confessed to his audience, “I don’t know if this is legal…” before busting into M.J. favorite “Billie Jean”. The festival came to a close with an incredible set full of old and new tracks that could have only come from the one, and only, Beck.
As I walked from stage to stage, from the beer tent to the port-o-potties, from the gate to the front rail, I kept thinking about Hunter S. Thompson, Louisville’s hell child. His presence was felt beside all of that southern charm and drawl. If Forecastle – and Louisville for that matter – is going to use his likeness as the figurehead for their journey, I think we’re going to see big things on the horizon, even if it’s a mirage were heading towards. Who knows… that mirage might turn out to be reality after all.
All photos by John Ellison.