Chris Crowley | Staff Writer
The third installment of the annual Treasure Island Music Festival just across the Bay bridge continued its’ tradition this weekend of being a landmark festival destination for concertgoers, who were graced by big name indie, hip-hop and electronic acts including The Flaming Lips, MGMT, and MSTRKRFT.
Treasure Island, a smaller scaled down festival compared to the likes of Bonnaroo and Coachella, has built a solid reputation over the last three years with awe striking views of San Francisco and the Bay offering attendees two days of high caliber upcoming and familiar artists spanning multiple genres, and two stages that switch off in between acts, thus not creating schedule conflicts.
This year did not disappoint.
Treasure Island’s festival pattern is to reserves day one for electronic and hip-hop based acts, and day two for the more stripped down indie based artists. The formula seems to be working well, with sellout crowds on Saturday and a near sellout on Sunday.
Saturday saw some of the “must see” artists stumble with less than average performances, while some of the ‘little guys’ cemented their place in Treasure Island Festival history.
Introducing, Dan Deacon. Deacon, who took the stage mid afternoon with a large band, playing his own crazed distortion infused style of electronic music, engaged the audience into a full crowd dance contest, a mid show interpretive dance routine to his quirky song “Of the Mountains” (you have to Youtube it), and finished the set by coming into the audience to instruct the crowd how to make multiple human tunnels during his hard hitting finale.
If you were there you couldn’t stop talking about it, if you weren’t you sure heard about it.
Other artists who delivered notable performances Saturday included LA hip-hop artist Murs, who assured the crowd “Fuck it, music is free—steal everything, motherfuckers!” The statement was reciprocated with a roar from the crowd who found the day’s first energy during Murs hits such as the Crooker’s remix of his collaboration “To Protect and Entertain” with Ed Banger artist Busy P, and “Better Than The Best.”
Passion Pit’s highly anticipated Saturday set fell a bit flat, with lead singer Michael Angelakos sounding vocally wounded and worn out, but some highlights included fan favorites “Sleepyhead” and “The Reeling.”
Saturday’s headliner could have been any of the three remaining acts of the day with the duties split amongst Girl Talk, MSTRKRFT, and MGMT.
MSTRKRFT stood above all and took down the Bridge stage with a massive crowd that seemed to visibly double last years Saturday headlining act, French electro duo Justice. And with all eyes on them, MSTRKRFT delivered a blasting hour-long set of electro and house leaving the crowd of over 10,000 in desire for more finishing with a remix of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Girl Talk continued his reign as the king of the mash-ups with an energetic late night set which ended with a dazzling fireworks show leading into neo psychedelic synthpop gods of the hipsters, MGMT.
MGMT came on stage to sold out cheers from attendees who waited all day for the east coast natives. “ It’s our last show for a while so we’re going to play our first album straight through” lead singer Andrew VanWyngarden stated before diving into the Oracular Spectacular’s first song “Time to Pretend.” The band completed the album, and did an encore that included three new songs off of their anticipated upcoming album “Congratulations” and the classic song “Destrokk.”
Day two brought very relaxed calming vibes to the island as many two-day attendees appeared to be recovering with joints and drinks from the ecstasy induced dance party of day one.
Large crowds finally gathered around 4 p.m. to see Brooklyn based band Grizzly Bear, for their experimental folk rock filled set. Grizzly Bear captured the crowd and the essence of the cold fall day next to the water placing themselves near the top of the best sets of the weekend.
Following Grizzly Bear, the next big act of the day came from Beirut, who finished their widely successful year of touring at Treasure Island early Sunday evening. While Beirut may have been the only band throughout the two days to make use of accordions, trumpets, and a tuba solo simultaneously, their live performance showed their maturity and rise to prominence opening with “Nantes” and closing the year with “My Night With the Prostitute From Marseille.”
After Beirut the wait for The Flaming Lips began, and with Sunday’s cold temperature and winds, the wait seemed long but no one really remembered once they took the stage to explosions of orange and yellow confetti, and iconic lead singer Wayne Coyne rolling into the crowd in a life-size hamster ball less than two minutes into the show.
Coyne spent a great deal of his banter on the band’s deep roots in San Francisco, looking at the city skyline he reflected on San Francisco being one of the first music markets to accept The Flaming Lips.
“For the longest time people thought we were from San Francisco, said Coyne, who told the crowd to consider this a homecoming show.
The Oklahoma city native, backed by his band, turned the quiet day on its head yielding the best party of the weekend with an elaborate stage setup that included the band coming on stage out of a vagina, and never ending shots of streamers and confetti into the crowd. Their set included special renditions of “Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robot Pt. 1,” and encore version of “Do You Reaize,” with some new songs “Convinced of The Hex” and “Silver Trembling Hands” thrown in too. It was a great way to end a great weekend of music.
The Treasure Island Music Festival continues to live by the phrase “if it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it.” Minus long shuttle bus lines, and even longer cab lines which managed to spark a few fistfights, this year’s festival was an enormous success. If maintained this festival is bound to gain national exposure as not only one of the Bay Area’s premiere music festivals, but also one of the premiere festivals of the country.