Sure, one could write hundreds of words about each band on the bill at the Treasure Island Music Festival, but then the entire comment section would be filled with a lot of “tl;dr” comments, which aren’t much fun. And I could write a “best-of” post, which basically translates to “I took a nap during Jamaica’s set.” Instead, in the tradition of our fan-favorite Instant Album Reviews columns, I instantly review Saturday Treasure Island Music Festival, with the help of some great photos from David Price.
Maus Haus – starting 15 minutes late to let more people get here on the shuttle buses. I was on the first bus and I got here at 11:45. They sound great, especially the bass, but the stage is a little big for them, and the curious crowd doesn’t ever get too into it.
Wallpaper – the entrance of Ricky Reed always brings screams, and he’s really looking good today. He’d hit on himself if he could. Song intros are as dumb (funny) as always, and they’re offering to sell us drugs at their merch table. There’s six extra percussionists on stage for a couple of songs, and the crowd reaction is great. It’ll be weird when Wallpaper are headlining theater-size venues, but it’s coming.
Holy Fuck – What is that synthesizer thing? Is it a film strip? That’s weird. This band sounds so cool, so why is everyone walking around? Look! On the stage! Weird synthesizer thing!
Jamaica – I know nothing about these guys, sounds like reggae. Ugh. Oh wait, that’s their walk-on music. These songs are OK but it sounds like he’s singing along with himself. How much of this is live? If you were taking a nap during Jamaica, I’d understand. I think it’s time to check out the Silent Disco for a few minutes.
Die Antwoord – I’ll admit off the bat. I didn’t “get” this band heading into today. Their music is horrible, described to me as “bad hip-hop circa 1996,” and I agree completely. I never want to listen to this group, ever. But watching them? Hard to take your eyes off the stage. What will they do next? What pieces of clothing might come off? What’s up with that hair? They totally own the festival during their set, but I can’t remember this many people ironically liking music, ever.
Phantogram – This is great music for walking around. They didn’t have a drummer when last I saw them, and that added a lot to their live sound. Definitely an improvement. Highly recommended, but seemed a bit stationary after what I just watched.
!!! – Nick Offer comes out looking like a drunk pervert with his trench coat and dance moves. It’s pretty creepy, let me tell you. But soon the entire audience is dancing with him, the girls are screaming, and the party is back on. This group never disappoints.
Four Tet – He looks like a guy in my Sunday school, like he’s bored up there with his laptop. The beats sound good, but it’s the middle of the day, and he’s not motivating the crowd to move. That’s all on Jinro Man right now, and no wonder Four Tet doesn’t allow video. Maybe at night with a bunch of lights, I’d be excited, but here and now? Not so much.
Kruder & Dorfmeister – (not pictured) holding down the “legend I’ve never listened to spot” is a duo that spends the entire set hidden behind an LED wall that gets cooler and cooler looking as the sun goes down. There’s two guys in the front singing, and I don’t know who they are. But this is paint-by-numbers European dance pop, and there’s lots of people who do this better.
Little Dragon – I have lots of friends who’d dig this. It’s just classic female-fronted synth pop. Unassuming, pleasant, good, even. I’m standing in the back enjoying my dinner, thinking about how many mouse heads I can see around me moving toward the main stage. I have a feeling something spectacular is about to happen.
Deadmau5 – the best light show I’ve ever seen was when Daft Punk headlined the Greek Theater a few years back. This one is second place. My favorite part was when that cube thing turned into a Rubik’s Cube. Or maybe when it “crashed” and the mouse mask grew a face and started talking. Or maybe all those red flame-like things. All in all, this was great, what many people in the crowd showed up to see, and also, awfully short. It was about 50 minutes here, and a DJ needs longer to truly get going. It was a solid, spectacular blast, but when he finished here, Deadmau5 got on a private plane for San Bernardino and a two-hour set at midnight. As a Treasure Island fan, I was thrilled; as a Deadmau5 fan, I would rather have been in San Bernardino.
Miike Snow – this is the best sounding set all day. The mix is perfect, but there’s so much fog I can barely see anything. (The photos below show they were wearing creepy masks, which were not visible where I was.) Since these are the guys who wrote and produced Britney Spears’ “Toxic,” I want to see them to do it, but the cover song we get is “The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance” by Vampire Weekend. Nice choice.
LCD Soundsystem – the cold and windy night seems to be affecting the audience for this set. There’s only four songs that really get the audience jumping: “Dance Yrself Clean,” “Daft Punk Is Playing at My House,” “All My Friends,” and “Trials and Tribulations.” It’s late at night, people are tired, and the band focuses mainly on the new album, as could be expected. As “Yeah” kicks in, I make my way to the bus, for I too am tired, and have another day of this tomorrow. And we’re expecting rain.
Enjoy a full gallery of photos from David Price below.