As I attend more and more festivals I’m learning to appreciate the unique quirks about each one. Every festival has its own theme, local culture, craft vendors, and even fashion trends.
The Treasure Island Music Festival in San Francisco is by far one of the funkiest festivals I have ever attended. Because Treasure Island is a military base, clearance to actually drive onto the Island was limited. So we music lovers embarked on an adventure in comfy leather seated charter buses.
Once on the Island we disembarked to find that we were among the first to arrive and the first band The Frail was in mid set. Taking in my surroundings, I noticed that the two stages were set up within ear shot of each other, there was no seating except for a few bleachers for VIPs and the entire festival venue was pretty small. That didn’t bother me much though, after the 74 acre trekking I’d done a few weeks ago at Bumbershoot .
There were several lounge areas, the most popular of which was probably the the Boost Mobile Tent where there was a phone charging station, as well as futon beds and huge pillows to veg out on while soaking in the atmosphere. InCase gets the prize for the best giveaway, but loses points in the branding department since we walked away from the booth still unsure what the product was.
The line up was an eclectic collection of pop music from around the world; from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Brazil and the UK. Loquat’s performance was a display of raw talent, with melodious chords and pulsing baselines. Nortec Collective moved the crowd with its fun fusion of electronic and acoustic elements, traditional Mexican dance samples combined with an accordion and tuba.
Antibalas had some definite Latin jazz influences. Slightly disorienting was when they went from melodious and soothing to seething and acerbic with political chants. Amon Tobin was properly disconcerting with its droning baselined noise distortion that shook the ground.
The highlights of day one were definitely Chester French and Goldfrapp. Where Chester French was funky with lyrics reminiscent of Weezer but with rhythms far more energizing and a vocalist with a surprisingly big voice. Together, Guitarist Maxwell Drummey and vocalist D.A. Wallach were an adorably charismatic pair and put on one of the most entertaining sets of the day. Watching them on stage, it’s no wonder they’ve caught the attention of Kanye West and were signed to Pherell’s Star Trek label. Put these boys on your list of groups to watch.
Goldfrapp was magical. While much of the music sounded the same, the visual of the band in all white, the reflective sun and the gusting winds was fantastic. With wind gusting and front woman Alison Goldfrapp clad in a slinky white slip dress covered in rainbow ribbons, the affect was almost ethereal. July was the most esoteric with the spacey lazer like sounds rose from the stage; the band members all swayed as if being driven by the wind. As the base throbbed and the beat to “Satin Chic” marched on, the crowed bounced happily along.
Check back for more coverage of the Treasure Island Music Festival.