Wednesday, October 21, 2009

In Case You Missed It: Treasure Island Recap

Wed, Oct 21, 2009 at 5:29 PM

In its third year, the Treasure Island Music Festival has become known as the festival that does it right. The organizers - Another Planet Entertainment and Noise Pop - get big-name acts, avoid parking and transportation problems that larger festivals have, and keep an intimate feel by having only two adjacent stages with alternating acts. Plus, they never change their format by getting too many super-popular mainstream artists.

Check out photos from Treasure Island here.

Much like its Golden Gate Park big sister festival, Outside Lands, Treasure Island started off with clear skies and perfect weather for a weekend of music. When arriving on the island, concert goers were greeted by the electro synth-pop sounds of local duo the Limousines. Despite being the first act of the first day, they had the handful of sleepy, early arrivers already dancing and excited for the day ahead.

Day one seemed like a mishmash of different artists from different genres that didn't fit into the whole indie-rock sphere of day two, such as Oakland's own Crown City Rockers. MC Raashan Ahmad's energy and the group's classic hip-hop sound had the hometown crowd bouncin'. But they - and MURS - were the only true hip-hop artists of the weekend.

MURS has been on a campaign to become the president of hip-hop since the release of his debut album, last year's MURS for President - and with his performance this weekend, he likely got a lot more votes. Coming from the infamous Living Legends, MURS brings a classic style of hip-hop that has been missing from the industry for the last decade or so. As he said, his music isn't about bling and smacking-up bitches; it's about the love and the music, which he backed up with his song "Break Up (OJ Song)."

Federico Aubele's soft-spoken vocals, coupled with his light picking of the Spanish guitar, also seemed completely out of place smashed between electronic, house, and hip-hop artists. His performance was amazing and engaged the crowd, yet it left many visitors confused since most were there to dance to artists and DJs like Girl Talk, MSTRKRFT, and MGMT. His style of music and performance seemed more fitting for the second day.

Passion Pit was the first huge electronic headliner. They were also the first band to get the neon-spandex-laden, high-top-wearing hipsters to emerge from their slumber. Droves of fans converged to the main stage to dance to hits like "Sleepyhead" and "Reeling" off Passion Pit's debut full-length, Manners.

Although a lot of Dan Deacon's music - with synth and demonic voice - sounds like it belongs in a dark and twisted '80s video game, he managed to get the crowd engaged. Not only did he have a variety of costumed animals dancing and running around the stage, but he got the audience to engage in an interpretive dance, which consisted of hundreds of people dropping to their knees, jumping, clapping, spinning around, and chanting. All while this was occurring, Deacon had his band of ten-plus musicians, who played things that looked like they belonged in the stage show Stomp, sound like an extremely well-polished band.

Other notable acts included the monotone-rapping and love-adoring hip-hop artist the Streets. The Brazilian Girls used various languages and mixed different genres of music to create an amazingly upbeat, electronic-pop dance sound with foreign flair. Their song, "Good Time," and front woman Sabina Sciubba's giant heart costumes were some of the highlights of the festival.

As the sun started to set, MSTRKRFT and Girl Talk took over. The Canadian DJ duo MSTRKRFT stole the show by doing things to a mixer and turntable that no other DJs could do. The two are famously known for their remixes of artists like Bloc Party, Metric, and Usher; they actually threw in their remix of Justice's "D.A.N.C.E." in a nod to last year's Saturday headliner. They had the crowd dancing throughout their fifty-minute set but ended it with a fitting tribute to their friend, the late DJ AM, by playing Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." You could hear the whole island singing along, even those at the Girl Talk stage waiting for him to perform next.

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