This year’s Treasure Island Music Festival attracted a diverse crowd, most of which partied way too hard during the high-energy dance sets of Saturday to attend Sunday’s more guitar-oriented lineup. Sunday was also much colder, with lines for coffee often stretching beyond lines for beer. Schools of glowing white jellyfish drifted through the festival grounds on handheld sticks, as music fans wandered back and forth between the two stages.
Giraffage kicked things off at noon during Saturday’s stretch of the festival after an introduction from Noise Pop/Salty Artist Management’s Chad Heimann aka Chad Salty, performing sample-driven dance music for the early crowd. Giraffage’s two-girl “skate squad” roller skated around the stage, waving an American flag as Charlie dropped the bass-heavy banger “Money”, leading into his remix of “Party in the USA”.
Antwon cranked up the bass on the Tunnel Stage with local producer Nanosaur and rapper Sad Andy backing his punk-inspired rap songs. The Nature Boy gang performed fan favorites such as “Dark Denim”, “Helicopter”, and “Living Every Dream”. Sad Andy did not perform “Ferragamo”, despite audience requests. However, Antwon did stop the beats to lead the crowd in a singalong of “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys.
ADULT. brought their goth vibe to the Bridge Stage, with the Detroit husband-and-wife duo battling the sunshine. As an act that is intended to be seen at night, singer Nicola Kuperus made the most of the set by jumping off the stage (instead of crawling under it) and mingling with the crowd during the final two songs.
Robert Delong played a solo set of crossover dubstep and electronic covers, satisfying the rave-oriented crowd. Danny Brown took the main stage next, as a last-minute replacement of Tricky. Brown proved himself a unique and energetic rapper, firing off tracks from his XXX mixtape and his new Old album. While fans danced around to Brown’s fun rap beats, they were reluctant to participate in callbacks such as “popping these pills and sniffing cocaine.”
Poolside offered a chill breather from the heavy beats of the day, slowing things down on tracks like, ahem, “Slow Down.” Disclosure offered one of the most universally pleasing sets of the day, as the crowd packed in to watch the two brothers deliver a visually enhanced set of tracks from their debut album, Settle.
DJ Falcon spun a set of relatively generic house music, offering festival-goers a much needed break to eat, use the restroom, etc. When Major Lazor hit the main stage, it was clear the break was over. Diplo took control of the crowd with help from Jillionaire and Walshy Fire, instructing the audience to jump and put their hands up. The energetic dancehall beats where enhanced with visual elements such as blow-up figures, a twerking competition, and Diplo crowdsurfing in a giant hamster ball. BOYTWEETSWORLD somehow made it on stage wearing a Burger King crown, much to the delight of the Internet.
Holy Ghost! performed a fun set of colorful dance rock, followed by Little Dragon on the Bridge Stage. Phantogram drew an impressive crowd to Saturday’s final set on the Tunnel Stage, with the duo debuting danceable new material despite a few harsh feedback issues. Fireworks went off across the bay as the band performed. Atoms For Peace closed out the evening with a hooded Flea, and Thom Yorke singing tracks from AMOK while busting out his unique dance moves.
Sunday turned out to be less sunny, but a great day for live music. Deep Sea Diver started things off with a smooth and solid set, followed by an interesting performance from mysterious pop-rock band IO Echo. The band seemed to be expressing some sort of fashion statement while experiencing suspiciously-timed technical issues. IO Echo was the first of many acts to address the cold weather, joking that they had requested “San Francisco goth fog” on their rider. The band played a cover of The Beatles classic “I Want You”, despite not having a live bass player.
Palma Violets rocked the Bridge Stage with a high energy, guitar-driven set, with help from their tour manager on maracas. I was riding the Ferris wheel when the band opened with a cover of “California Sun.” Cayucas continued the coastal vibe over on the Tunnel Stage, offering a smooth, accessible sound for casual concert goers. Lord Huron brought a twangy folk vibe to the festival as the crowd awaited the arrival of Haim.
The Haim sisters actually sounded better live than they do on their debut album, offering a tight, engaging set of catchy pop songs. The trio, backed by a male drummer, put on one of the most enjoyable shows of the day. The band concluded with the three sisters drumming in unison, offering a surprisingly rocking afternoon treat. While I had been suspicious of the hype surrounding Haim’s pop status, the group turned out to be one of the highlights of the weekend.
STRFKR hit the main stage next, with bright visuals (including crowsurfing blow-up dolls) backing the spacey dance rock act through tracks like “Hungry Ghost” and a cover of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Real Estate offered up some cool new tunes as the sun began to set over the bay, peppering in crowd pleasers such as “It’s Real.”
As the temperature grew uncomfortably chilly, James Blake and his pair of backing musicians performed a soulful set of bass-heavy ballads. Tracks such as “CMYK” and “Retrograde” kept the crowd moving as the fog rolled in. Japandroids took things up a notch with one of the hardest rocking sets of the festival, with the duo also addressing the cold weather. The band announced “The House that Heaven Built” as “kind of a slow jam.”
Animal Collective played a psychedelic set of fan favorites such as “What Would I Want? Sky”, “Brother Sport”, “Peacebone”, and “The Purple Bottle”, without performing crossover hit “My Girls” or any debut material. Giant neon teeth and colorful images of astronauts and other spacey images flashed on the screens as all four original members of the experimental band yelped and jammed through their set.
Sleigh Bells crashed the Tunnel Stage with a combination of material from new album Bitter Rivals and early favorites such as “Crown on the Ground” and “Infinity Guitars.” Vocalist Alexis Krauss and guitarist Derek Edward Miller were joined on stage by two extra members, with fans headbanging along to the strobe lights of the pop-meets-hardcore act. Headliner Beck ended the festival with a set of his hit songs, beginning with “Devil’s Haircut”.