Treasure Island Music Festival-Day 1

Nestled between Oakland and San Francisco is a small man made island built for the World’s Fair in 1940. Being that there’s less than 1,500 residents, it’s the perfect site for a music festival since there’s no one to disturb. With two stages, no overlapping sets and attendance of 10,000 it was a great setup for people that wanted to enjoy music without the big festival hassle. The highlights of the day was Antibalas‘ high energy Fela like funk, Foals, Hot Chip and TV on the Radio.

I arrived to catch Chester French and spent most of my time scratching my head. The singer introduced one of the songs stating that it was about groupies. The hook was,”You can be my Puerto Rican Pamela Lee.” How much longer until TV on the Radio?

San Francisco by way of Brooklyn Aesop Rock was up next and the crowd treated him like family throwing their arms up at his frequent requests. They played a lean set that featured their DJ Big Wiz putting on a clinic towards the end.

Brooklyn’s Antibalas followed by opening with a sped up version of Bob Marley‘s “Rat Race.” They didn’t stop the groove and made use of every second during their 45 minute set. Every member on stage had a massive grin throughout their set. They could have played for 4 hours and not broken a sweat.

The sleeper band of the weekend that blew me away was the Foals, they only had 30 minutes but I’m sure every member in the crowd was wanting more by the end. I don’t even know of any similar bands that I can compare them too, all I can say is they’re poised for greatness and won’t be playing second stages for much longer. Even with a solar power outage, they couldn’t stop playing. The drummer broke into a beat that got the other band members involved in a mini-percussion jam until power was restored. On a side note: to whomever is in charge of the solar panels next year, please aim the panels TOWARDS the sun, not away. Thank You.

Hot Chip arrived on stage to an anxious crowd and quickly broke into the multi-textured sound that’s impossible to classify. While they may be the reigning kings of the remix, they’re also a force to reckon with live.

Amon Tobin and Mike Relm sets were sandwiched around Hot Chip and Goldrapp. Amon Tobin’s set was built around ambient textures instead of beats, which fit the SF crowd perfectly. Although DJ’s are big draw these days, it’s hard for a performer to come off sincere if they’re staring at their laptop for most of their set. The highlight of Mike Relm’s set was breaking into Rage Against the Machine‘s “Killing in the Name of” then segueing into One Day as A Lion‘s “Wild International.”

Goldfrapp took the stage in all white outfits as the sun set over San Francisco. With her hair and dress flying everywhere Alison Goldfrapp pranced the stage barefoot while loving every minute of it. Their set included all their hits and a near perfect mix of all the musicians on stage. There wasn’t any stage banter. Goldfrapp came there to play and the audience was there to listen and dance.

Touring behind their amazing new album, “Dear, Science”, TV on the Radio came on stage as darkness set. The light show accompanied their visual compositions, perfectly setting the table for a flooring performance. Hailing from what used to be Williamsburgh, Brooklyn they were backed by their neighbors, the horn section from Antibalas. Plenty of bands carry the “art rock” card these days but TVOTR is the genuine article. They incorporate so many genres of music within each song and their harmonies are surreal live. Sometimes bands can’t pull off their studio compositions live but TVOTR takes it to a another level, they are truly a phenomenal live band. Pardon for the lack of a full band shot but I had to put the camera down, it was just too good to not stand there and listen.

Stay tuned for the Day Two wrap up.

Treasure Island Festival: website | line-up

photos and writing by: Ajay Malghan

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