Treasure Island Music Fest @ San Francisco 10.15-16

Posted October 19, 2011 in
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This weekend marks the Fifth Annual Treasure Island Music Festival, a rock, hip hop and electronic festival on Treasure Island smack dab in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. Produced by Noise Pop and Another Planet Entertainment, two San Francisco production companies, this young festival has quickly made a name for itself on the California festival circuit, drawing such names as The Flaming Lips, Modest Mouse, Justice, LCD Soundsystem, DJ Shadow and Aesop Rock. Their past lineups read like a who’s who on indie dance music of all genres, with plenty of big names, supported by lesser-known acts with spectacular live shows and many bands and DJs who exploded in popularity in the months or years after their Treasure Island set.

This year’s lineup holds up well compared to the past years’. Of course, Death Cab for Cutie is one of the biggest instances of indie-band-turned-world-famous, and although they tour fairly often, they usually play small venues that sell out quickly and are hard to catch live. They are touring off their album Codes and Keys, which was released in May.

Empire of the Sun is known for a spectacular live set that they’ve been taking to festivals all summer, but now is the first time to catch it in the Bay.

Explosions in the Sky is an all-instrumental post-rock band with epic, eight minute-plus songs that they refer to as “cathartic mini-symphonies.” They manage to capture a lot of the emotion of human life with just guitars, bass and drums.

Cut Copy is an electronic band that sounds like it’s right out of the ‘80s, with three solid albums under their belt and a distinctive synthpop indie dance sound.

JFK from MSTRKRFT has played Treasure Island before and now he’s back with Death From Above 1979, a dance-punk rock band that gained worldwide notoriety for their single album, You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine. They broke up in 2006, but announced a tour earlier this year, hitting Europe, Canada and just eight dates in the U.S. Who knows if they will tour again, so this weekend is perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime chance.

Another can’t miss act is Flying Lotus, Los Angeles based producer and founder of the remarkable and varied Brainfeeder Records. FlyLo has a distinguished, experimental, electronic/jazz/instrumental/hip hop sound, and plays outstanding live sets. He hasn’t gained mainstream attention quite yet, but his 2010 album Cosmogramma was extremely well received by critics and fans alike, and it’s clear that within the next year he will have the attention of the entire electronic music world.

Those are just the highlights, but there’s plenty more world class acts set to perform, including nu-disco duo Chromeo, Afro-techno producers Buraka Som Sistema, grime superstar Dizzee Rascal, classic festival heavyweights The Hold Steady, indie dance group Friendly Fires, indie darlings and dance rock band Beach House, and many more. This year’s lineup is so deep that Treasure Island’s staggering of acts between the two stages is a delight. There are no conflicts, just a short, thirty-foot walk from the back of one stage to the other.

Treasure Island provides a really fun and comprehensive look across a variety of genres and styles, all set against the backdrop of the stunning San Francisco skyline with the sun setting behind the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. If there’s a lull in between acts you want to see, check out the ferris wheel, the silent disco, or any of the other activities going on in the background. And bring a jacket, because October on the Bay is not warm.