CHVRCHES at 2015 Treasure Island Music Festival, by Daniel Kielman

Another year in the books for the island-sequestered music festival, as presented by Noise Pop and Another Planet Entertainment. Many components of Treasure Island Music Festival were the same as the last: a staggering line-up of music, no overlap between sets, Karl The Fog swaggering in and out like he had an all-access pass, a Silent Disco (which always looks like a cult of interpretive dancers from far away), and some of the most enticing food trucks and stands in the Bay (I’m looking at you, Coca-Cola braised pork steamed buns from The Chairman. Mmm.)

However, this fest saw a few notable changes. For one, the 40-foot sculpture of the dancing woman composed of stainless steel and lit up by 1,000 LED lights had been removed from the island over the year due to rusting from the Bay’s sea breezes. As the easiest meeting point for the inebriated and a gorgeous photo-op for selfie-stick enthusiasts, her presence was sorely missed.

A very cool addition to the wares being sold was Booty Records, an all vinyl pop-up store. On Sunday it looked like there was a Lower Dens signing in the afternoon, a DJ on deck, and I’d heard a rumor the employees were supposed to dress like 80’s rock stars. Not only that, but the store commemorated some of our favorite local labels such as Father / Daughter Records, Melters, and Antenna Farm Records with placards and selected releases.

By late afternoon I was bruised by the wind and hangry, so a few friends and I stumbled away from the music towards the Funny Or Die tent like it was a comedy-bearing oasis. And it was. We were quickly ushered in without a line, led to a seat with a waterfront view, and giggled through Lauren Lapkus’ (OITNB) improv show. The hour or so respite was almost as good as remembering insoles.

Oh, right, I should be talking about music. Thirteen acts boomeranged between the two stages, and below is a breakdown of the highlights:

Ought at 2015 Treasure Island Music Festival, by Daniel Kielman


Tim Beeler has stage charisma. With a warble like David Byrne’s, Ought’s frontman gracefully and repeatedly wagged his finger around at the sizable crowd like he was sharing a joke we could never understand. Despite being the first to play on Sunday, the Canadian outfit sounded impressively huge.

Ex Hex at 2015 Treasure Island Music Festival, by Daniel Kielman


Before even picking up their instruments, the Ex Hex trio huddled together for a celebratory hug. Hailing from Washington, D.C., the band has been on an upward swing since signing to Merge Records before even dropping a single. Now they have an extraordinarily catchy debut album, Rips, under their belt, and have toured with King Tuff. It’s straightforward rock n’ roll with attitude, glam, and sass. Favorite song they played was “Don’t Wanna Lose” with a bass line reminiscent of Thee Oh Sees.

Father John Misty at 2015 Treasure Island Music Festival, by Daniel Kielman


“Should I go full bun or half bun? Yeah, take your phones out. This is definitely worth taking up storage for.” — Joshua Tillman on his on-stage manbun stylings.

Formerly of Saxon Shore and Fleet Foxes, Tillman described himself as a “controversial caricature,” perhaps explaining the tongue-in-cheek lumbersexual look. He also jumped into the crowd while singing, “While You’re Smiling and Astride Me.” No complaints here.

The War On Drugs at 2015 Treasure Island Music Festival, by Daniel Kielman


At one point during The National‘s headlining set, Matt Berninger noted: “My hair looks so fucking sweet in this wind. I’m trying to get into The War On Drugs.” It’s true, somehow wind currents hit the main stage just right and made everyone’s hair look amazing on Sunday, but it was frontman Adam Granduciel of The War On Drugs who looked the most effortlessly, effervescently windswept. Couple that with releasing one of the most critically acclaimed albums of last year, Lost in the Dream, The War On Drugs’ set was easily one of the best of the day.

The National at 2015 Treasure Island Music Festival, by Daniel Kielman


Matt Berninger introduced Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches to the stage, and then sang “I Need My Girl” together.