In my honest opinion, Treasure Island Music Festival is the best music festival I have ever attended. The line-up this year was filled with the best of who’s-who in the indie music world without it compromising reputation by booking a radio-friendly act in order to boost ticket sales. Besides, both dates were sold out and for good reason.
So let’s go over Day One first; first off, not the best day. Not a bad day by any means though. Bay Area’s own The Limousines kicked off the festival at a perfectly upbeat and energetic tone. Playing their now iTunes hit Very Busy People, I saw a band that I have been watching for years now become a tight electro-dance duo that will be emerging as one of the more prominent bands in 2010.
I stayed for about 3 songs for Crown City Rockers, who sounded like a next generation Roots with a mix a Franti optimism, which was kind of a turn off. Murs tore it up with his brand of storytelling hip hop. The guy works the crowd like a pro and I was quite impressed with his set. I only caught a song of Federico Aubele, I have no valid opinion of him just yet. Around this time I went to take pictures of the carnies at the backend of the festival grounds, which involved a guy laying on a bed of nails while his female assistant chopped apples and carrots on his chest. The food was okay, obviously at festival prices but the portions were perfect. One of the bands I was looking forward to was Passion Pit, who did a decent job at translating their unique dance-pop sound live. While the songs seemed to be missing a few of the layers that are featured on their latest record, Passion Pit certainly earned their time at Treasure Island.
Next I met up with lead vocalist of The Limousines, Eric Victorino to talk about the new record and other stuff, which I will post here in a few days time. We headed over to see Dan Deacon do this thing. I had already seen Dan at the Great American Music Hall this year and his performance here wasn’t any different. The only difference was the crowd, I’m not sure everyone knew what they were getting into. Dan Deacon is very demanding of his audience, he will tell you to do a dance competition, run around in circles, stretch in bizarre poses, and probably make you do things you wouldn’t expect at a rock concert. But that’s the fun of Dan Deacon show. He did pretty well despite getting frustrated a few times at certain audience members, “HEY! You with the fucking hat! Take two steps back!”
Next up was my first time seeing The Streets. Michael Skinner is much uglier up close…that I can assure you. I never fully understood the appeal of The Streets, his live show didn’t convince me, but I admit I was enjoying myself. After that was the legendary DJ Krush as he destroyed the crowd with his samurai-like DJ skills. He displayed a sense of extreme concentration that was admired by anyone willing to witness it. After Krush, I headed over to Brazilian Girls. Don’t let the name fool you, no Brazilians in this outfit, and only one girl, Sabina Sciubba. She cam out in a lingerie-like outfit with a giant heart on her torso. I was a little bored despite the obvious eye-candy of her costume. After about 3 songs I looked to see how the ferris-wheel line was…really long, so I declined in order to catch LTJ Bukem and MC Conrad. I should have caught the ferris wheel instead. Another performance that bored me to tears. I recognize they’re talented, but it’s just not my scene. I decided to stay for two songs and go find a good spot in the photo pit for MSTRKRFT.
For anyone that was a fan of MSTRKRFT that night, the duo did not disappoint. But while fans of pulse pounding electro beats were rocking out, everyone else was trying to find a good spot for Girl Talk. Greg Gillis came out with a mic and started to hype up the crowd, who was already amped up to party their asses off. This is around the time my camera’s battery ran out [note: bring extra batteries]. While mixing current radio hits with songs from last year’s Feed the Animals, Girl Talk did what he usually does, jams on his laptop while everything around him explodes, literally. There were giant tubes with balls in them, a girl with a leaf blower and a toilet-paper dispenser in the end shoot TP at the crowd, hipster dancers on stage, and at the end, a firework spectacle that pretty much said to MGMT, “Well, beat that fuckers!”
Unfortunately, MGMT couldn’t match the energy and wackiness of Girl Talk’s set. Even announcing that this was their last time playing for a long time and playing the whole record in full from start to finish didn’t hype up the crowd enough. Playing the whole record in track order didn’t help much either, after they played Kids, about half the crowd dispersed and headed for the buses back to San Francisco. I was one of them. Being that I was damn near passing out from exhaustion I had to call it a night early. Plus, my thoughts on MGMT didn’t change from watching them perform five songs into their set. They have 5 or so solid pop tunes and after that it gets kind of dull.
Let’s be clear, I had a blast, especially during Girl Talk, Passion Pit, The Limousines, and Dan Deacon. I was already impressed and was more than ready for what Day Two had in store.