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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Treasure Island Fest : A Treasure Chest Of Music

Seema Vennam |
October 19, 2010 | 1:09 p.m. PDT


Treasure Island Fest (Seema Vennam)
Treasure Island Fest (Seema Vennam)
As usual when it comes to San Francisco, Treasure Island Fest did not disappoint in terms of wild costumes and happy people.

This weekend’s festival, held in the middle of an actual island, featured 26 bands along with a silent disco and several other attractions.

If a concert-goer wasn’t into a particular band, he could go jump on a trampoline, take a ride on a Ferris wheel, shop at the multiple vender booths, or even make a drink koozie and customized eye-patch at the DIY tent.

The festival was extremely well-organized and well-staffed, with adequate food vendors, restroom facilities, recycling options, and convenient shuttle transportation to and from the island.

Despite seemingly freezing weather, Saturday brought out the ravers with glow sticks, minimal clothing, and tons of enthusiasm.

While DeadMau5 brought out the most fans, enticing listeners with intense beats and an elaborate light show, !!! (Chk Chk Chk) was the highlight of Saturday.

The lead singer, Nic Offer, was a ball of energy, climbing all over the stage, lifting up his shirt, and bringing back some glamrock-era dance moves.

Though the rest of the band seemed exhausted from playing a show the previous night in Tokyo and getting less than three hours of sleep, Offer was not affected. He jumped to the edge of the stage, gyrating his hips and striking model poses with accompanying ridiculous facial expressions, much like a little kid playing pretend photoshoot.

His obvious love of performing captured the audience’s attention and got the whole crowd dancing. He ended the set with some words of wisdom: “Here’s my advice to you, San Francisco. Join a band. It’s REALLY fun!”

Other highlights from Saturday include experimental band, Holy Fuck, who produce electronic music without the use of laptops, preferring toy laser guns, live percussion, and their own vocal chords to produce the desired sound effects.

Miike Snow, despite noisy amplifiers, delivered a memorable performance.

Crowd favorite, LCD Soundsystem also performed an excellent set, playing mostly songs off of their new album.

Sunday’s forecast promised cold weather and rain, but this did not keep the music-lovers away. Festival-goers abandoned their glow sticks and came decked out in multiple layers and ponchos, but thankfully the rain subsided in the early afternoon.

Sunday’s lineup featured more mellow tunes, a perfect accompaniment to a cloudy day on the island.

Despite some mild drizzle and a broken guitar incident at the beginning of their performance, Broken Social Scene played an excellent set to an enamored crowd.

Known for their large number of members, range of instruments, and hauntingly beautiful orchestrations, the band’s performance sounded even better than their studio recordings.

Later in the evening, The National brought out the most fans on Sunday. Lead singer Matt Berninger kept the crowd entertained with not only his smooth baritone voice, but also with his witty sense of humor, telling jokes in between songs.

Slightly out of place in Sunday’s line-up was Israeli garage band, Monotonix. The band’s heavy hard rock was much harsher than the other music at the festival, yet the musicians embraced their individuality and put on a memorable performance in the afternoon.

Jumping off the stage within the first few minutes of their set, they took their instruments and played from the middle of the crowd, surrounded on all sides by a mosh pit of festival-goers.

Lead singer Ami Shalev, shirtless with long unkempt hair, spent the majority of his time singing while crowd surfing.

Headliner Belle & Sebastian had arguably the best performance of the festival, playing songs from almost all of their albums and paying special homage to San Francisco with songs such as “Piazza New York Catcher” and “Sukie in the Graveyard.”

While the band’s music is fairly tranquil, they put on an energetic performance, with front-man Stuart Murdoch bouncing around the stage as if on a trampoline, tossing signed footballs through the crowd, and asking a woman in the front row for help with his makeup.

Murdoch brought fans onstage to dance, one of whom was John Paul Pitts. The lead singer of Surfer Blood embarrassingly leaned in towards the microphone and attempted to sing with a confused Murdoch, with whom he shared a friendly hug after.

It was a striking performance overall, leaving the crowd humming the encore on their way back to the shuttle pick-up.

While, as is expected with festivals, the food and drink prices were way over the top, the only real low-point of the festival was the audio quality.

She & Him was particularly bad, with Zooey Deschanel’s charming voice getting lost in the sounds of overused amplifiers.

Surfer Blood had the opposite problem, with harsh vocals overpowering the other instruments.

Overall, Treasure Island Fest was a wonderful experience for music-lovers. The island was beautiful, the performances were great, and festival-goers were left smiling.


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