On October 19 and 20, California was winding down the festival season with one last two-day bash at Treasure Island in the Bay, gazing out at the picturesque San Francisco skyline at the annual Treasure Island Music Festival. Situated on a small abandoned island, the setting was serene for two full days of eclectic genres, dancing, and exposing oneself to some fantastic performances by a number of bright and prominent acts within indie and electronic music.
Thousands gathered at the island, which had limited parking, to enjoy the perfect sunny days that were to set the background for what was a memorable weekend for many. The shuttle service may have had a line, but it was effective, clean and reliable. And given the BART strike, it could not have been more perfect a solution.
For those out-of-towners who do not understand the weather of the Bay, please realize for next time that you must pack in layers. The days were certainly beautiful and comfortable, but by the time the sun went down, this ideal climate rapidly dropped into the 50s with gusts of wind from the water. So for those who did not prepare, well, it was cold!
But the music was hot. The lineup for this festival was extremely well balanced while still being relevant and cohesive. Headlining the first day was Radiohead leadman Thom Yorke’s Atoms For Peace while Beck closed out the festival. After that there was a slew of talent from both the indie and electronic genres- many acts combing the two surging scenes. Some of the more notable acts include Major Lazer, James Blake, Little Dragon, and Disclosure.
Disclosure’s “When a Fire Starts to Burn”
The festival offered way more than the typical fare one would come to expect. Sure there were corn dogs, but then there was a wide variety of authentic and thoughtful food. Even vegans could be satisfied. There were gourmet cupcakes, food trucks, and a number of tasty endeavors so one could not only fuel, but enjoy it thoroughly for a fair price. Drinks were limited to beer, cider, and some cocktails, but the view of the city was the most tantalizing aspect of the festival. And the music!
TIMF had two stages overlooking the bay that seamlessly had acts alternating from stage to stage throughout the day. Additionally, there was a silent disco or Silent Frisco stage that had music playing as well. This tucked away stage had featured DJs from the local scene and some other select guests to procure danceable tunes throughout the weekend. The sound was excellent, especially for a smaller outdoor festival. It was clear, loud, and well mastered by the technicians.
There was a metal display outside of the Silent Frisco stage. At night, the sculpture would ignite with flames from a manual control, which was an impressive attraction. A giant sculpture of a dancing woman was set as the focal point of the grounds, extracted from a past Burning Man Festival. As each festival now seems to have, there was a Ferris wheel for musings. Artists were painting live murals as well. The vendors were very west coast with craft stations and loads of homemade threads and works of art as you walked in to the festival.
Disclosure has erupted over the past year. The duo had the whole crowd surprisingly singing along to their simple hooks and complex live drum compilations. They have a driving beat and highly danceable melody to each of their tracks. The performance was very similar to that of Booka Shade. Disclosure have proven to be simply awesome. Production for the show featured an image of a head that was singing along to tunes or creating some other fixture to focus on when one got distracted from the live electronic performance and mixing.
Holy Ghost! and Little Dragon’s sets came at the most perfect time after the intense noise barrage and stimulus that is Major Lazer. Major Lazer has certainly tailored their performance to be a no-doubt party each and every time, but unless that is your thing, it can be pretty aggressive.
Holy Ghost’s “Okay”
Holy Ghost! offered a mellow and dancey 70’s vibe with current melodies. Hailing from New York and DFA records, the group has been known to thrown down some great parties and remixes. Little Dragon then played a perfect set of studio quality. Their polished sound was mirrored by the lead singer Yukumi Nagano’s unique voice. This added to the mood of the night and shifted the intense party into a more intimate and poignant experience.
Atoms For Peace was the headliner and had a Thom-Yorke-esque performance. The wallowing of dissonant Radiohead faithful were not disappointed by the side project that further describes Yorke’s point of view. In a strange way, the cold wind added to the motif of the set being played by the soulful band.
Day Two featured James Blake, who has uniquely merged the sounds of classic R & B with postmodern dubstep. His sultry vocals and unique live performance are a treat to experience. From a minimalist standpoint, the unique drum hooks with the spacious structure of the music creates a unique soundscape for the listener.
Beck closed out the weekend with another memorable performance. Rocking out to covers of Michael Jackson and an unexpected collaboration with Sleigh Bells, he performed with his band to the fulfillment of the potential he has created for himself. With a number of acclaimed albums that transverse along a wide array of spectrums and boundaries, Beck dipped into his old catalog while also playing to the crowd.
Overall, when a music festival is situated in a littoral setting along a city, it is difficult to not set the bar so high. Even without music, a day on the postcard that is Treasure Island with friends was reason enough to embrace the weekend. Added to it a touch of Bay Area food and culture, a number of talented DJs and musicians, as well as thoughtful production from the event staff amounted to a weekend that is worth attending and ensured to be repeated.
Written by Danny Goodman
OurVinyl | Senior Writer