Live Review: Treasure Island Music Festival, 10/15-10/16

YACHT at Treasure Island Music Festival

review by Kat Metrovich
all photos by Dave Lichterman

A music festival in the middle of San Francisco Bay is an irresistible opportunity. Cheap plane tickets, a friend to stay with and tickets… you’re set! And the MVP of Treasure Island Music Festival was really the beauty and magic that is San Francisco itself. Last week, we were blessed with perfect weather (70’s) and clear skies.

As you can see from the poster, the fest is pretty much divided into dance day, and indie pop day. The thing that separates TIMF from other local festivals, for me, is the fact that it’s possible to see every artist on the bill.

TIMF is well set up, with two stages, alternating acts; you don’t have to choose which band to hit/ or miss. If you aren’t digging that band, you can go dancing at the Silent Disco, which is just like it sounds. Upon entering, it looks like a bunch of people dancing with no music (though wearing headphones). Then you’re given the headphones and it all comes together! You’re all dancing to a dj set in a eucalyptis grove! So groovy!

House coated Grannies, Sea Monsters, Pirates, Disco Queens, Jellyfish, Superheroes as well as food, crafts, clothes, posters , non-profits were all represented.

And there was a neon lit FERRIS WHEEL!!!!!!!

Flying Lotus

There weren’t any weak acts. Despite the short set times, most acts got in the groove before time ran out. Except for the fabulously sweet Flying Lotus, who said “Aw man… I was just about to get off! Y’all gonna give me blue balls!” The crowd did not want to stop, either. FlyLo told the audience they were all invited to the afterparty, THEN offered to DJ for free if someone had or knew of a spot for it to go down! Around 11p, he had no takers so he tweeted he was just gonna stay in and watch a movie.

Highlights of Day 1:

Aloe Blac

I didn’t want to miss Aloe Blacc. I love his sweet soul sound with funky beats!

Shabazz Palaces

Next up was Shabazz Palaces, and I was really curious how a crowd of bay area festival goers would respond to these cats. I’ve seen them almost every time they perform in Seattle… plus, they went on at 1:30 in the afternoon. Overheard @ Shabazz: “That song kinda seduced me! Hehe!”

Shabazz Palaces

I caught KEXP photog, Dave L. on the photo pit singing the words to all the S.P. tracks… awesome! I got asked a lot what I thought of Shabazz Palaces, like folks just weren’t sure about them. But when they started the song “Bop Hard”, the crowd did. I loved seeing them in the bay!


YACHT was a pleasant surprise for me. They had great songs, infectious energy and covered the B-52’s!


Buraka Som Systema

Also performing Day 1 were Battles and Buraka Som Sistema, who won the “Best Booty Shaking, Long Form” award.

Cut Copy


Cut Copy and Chromeo were crowd favorites on Saturday, and I was surprised that a band who only released one record and broke up tears ago — Death From Above 1979 — could be so anticipated! They were heavy and crunchy as they taunted the folks on the ferris wheel to make out.

Empire of the Sun

Headlining that night was Empire Of The Sun from Australia. I hadn’t heard of them before TIMF booked them, but THEY BLEW MY MIND!!! Stunning costumes, dancers and visuals were captivating your eyes, while the music moved your body!

Shuttle busses were waiting at the gate to get us back to San Francisco.

On Sunday, I entered the fest as St. Vincent’s Annie Clark was singing “Cheerleader” off her new record.

St. Vincent

I sang along as I got as close to the front of the stage as possible.

While I was not as enthused about indie pop Day 2, I was sure that I was gonna fall in love with one of those thirteen bands performing. What surprised me was that it turned out to be our own The Head and The Heart. They got great press, and my friends all liked them, but I just didn’t get it!

The Head and the Heart

With the gorgeous sun drenched San Fran skyline behind them, and perfect sound, they hit me hard! WOW! It was a beautiful moment I’ll never forget.

Beach House

Beach House followed with their Robitussin drenched dreamy pop.

Friendly Fires

Friendly Fires were the other band I fell in love with on Sunday. I had them confused with other fire-y bands, but no longer! They are terrific dance-pop from the UK on XL Recordings, and they kept me dancing while in line for the Ferris wheel!

It was finally my turn to get on the Ferris wheel, as Explosions In The Sky were onstage. So stunning with the lights and crowd and dancing jellyfish!! From the top of the Ferris wheel you could see the entire Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridges lit up, with the SF skyline in between! After The Hold Steady played, Death Cab for Cutie came on stage saying “Hi! We’re Death Cab and we’re from Seattle! When Ben Gibbard sang “I will Possess Your Heart”, I said, yes, you sure do!

The Hold Steady

Explosions in the Sky

Death Cab for Cutie

Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks

Don’t miss Treasure Island Music Festival next year! I’ll see you there!

Check out more of Dave Lichterman’s photos from Day 1 and Day 2 here and here.

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