Scene Editor Sean Riordan heads to the center of the Bay for the Treasure Island Music Festival
Concert-goers escaped to Treasure Island this weekend to enjoy open-air music, fried food, and a silent disco as San Francisco festival season comes to an end. What makes the two-day event so special is a mix of its location (with sweeping views of the City skyline), a well balanced lineup, and much smaller crowds than other events. Unlike Outside Lands or Hardly Strictly, TI runs just two stages, alternating shows so fans don’t have to choose between artists playing simultaneously.
Saturday leaned more towards the electronic dance music crowd. Girl Talk headlined the night with a disappointingly quiet set, it felt as if Gregg Gillis just hit “play” and danced around the stage for a couple hours. Luckily SBTRKT and The Presets more than made up for it with their energetic performances earlier in the day. Although we missed half of Grimes due to a shuttle break down, moods were lifted by none other than FLAVA FLAV, whose van pulled up next to us and let him pose for photos.
Sunday was definitely the more popular of the two days, the Island was notably more crowded as many purchased one-day tickets. We kicked off the afternoon with my summertime favorite, Youth Lagoon – who provided the perfect low-key ambiance for guests to lay in the grass and soak up the sun. As expected, harpist Joanna Newsom stole the day in my eyes. Her distinctive childish voice and hypnotizing string-plucking captivated the silent audience as she played the massive instrument. Afterwards we decided to miss Los Campesinos! and stake out a spot for Best Coast at the Bridge Stage. The Los Angeles natives brought together quite the crowd who crammed in to enjoy the grungy surf-pop while the sun set behind them.
With the darkness came M83, who rivaled Newsom for the best act of the weekend. They lit up the Bay with their complex light show, ending the set with their hit “Midnight City.” The XX wrapped up the festival – and although they seemed to be the most anticipated artist of the weekend, I was a little unimpressed. Their new album “Coexist,” has been a recent hit, but the songs translated to a somewhat boring performance. I gave them a second chance and went to “Jamie XX’s” post-concert DJ set at Public Works, but even his solo performance underwhelmed.
All-in-all, the weekend was a perfect finale to SF’s music-packed summer. Now it’s time to start counting the days until festival season begins next year.