Day two of Treasure Island started out significantly easier. The winds were calm, and only light sprinkles were on the horizon. Still, I think people were a little nervous about the weather (Or simply stayed out partying late the night before), as when I arrived at 11:30 am on Sunday, the park looked pretty deserted. However, the ferris wheel was up and running, and the coffee line was short, so it made for a very good morning for me.
On the second day, I showed up to see the festival open up, and it was a beautiful site. The best part of it was hearing the bright, shimmering guitar tones throughout the island. If you’re going to be drinking coffee outside along the coast on an overcast day, there are worse ways to experience than to the sound of Day Wave covering Joy Division’s “Ceremony.”
The rain started to come in again during Hinds’ set. Neither the band nor the audience seemed to care, and they pulled out a perfect, high energy set, playing the majority of their near perfect debut Leave Me Alone. They moved between English and Spanish, between 3/4 and 4/4 time, all within the same two minute song, and even closed with a perfect cover of Thee Headcoatees’ spectacularly complex and weird “Davey Crockett.” Co-frontwomen Carlotta Cosials and Ana Garcia Perrote kept the audience engaged, talking to the crowd in broken English, and even taking the time out to sit and take pictures with the crowd — IN THE RAIN — until everyone was done.
Car Seat Headrest
I was wondering how Car Seat Headrest was going to pull off their live show. These songs come from so many different direction that I couldn’t imagine what this live show would be like. What we got was something a little less Beach Boys and a whole lot more of pure Sonic Youth / Dinosaur Jr. fuzz. The glory that is fuzzy guitars always feel good, and Car Seat Headrest felt great.
Christine and the Queens
If musicians put themselves on the stock market, I’d immediately buy stock in Christine and the Queens. This kind of performer only comes along once in a generation. Imagine if you spliced together the DNA of Freddie Mercury, Annie Lennox, and Lady Gaga, and gave the resultant child Yelle-inspired French Disco beats. This was an incredibly tight set, complete with dancers. It was such a fierce performance that the skies literally opened, bringing the sun out for the first time all weekend. Christine is ready for arenas, and if she’s not playing arenas in two years, then the whole system is rigged.
Christine and the Queens played the most ferocious set of the fest. Deafheaven, being the first metal band to ever play Treasure Island Festival, came a very, very close second. Not merely heavy, they are brutal, pure and primal — the kind of metal that you certainly can’t hum, but can feel in your chest. This is exactly what metal should sound like.
After experiencing so much amazing music all afternoon, the hype of Mac DeMarco forced everything to just fall flat. The noodly guitars just felt uninspired, and, quite frankly, I was bored. When I looked back over my notes, all I wrote was “Mac DeMarco? Mac DemarcNO!”
One of the most anticipated sets of the weekend was the grand return of Sylvan Esso. They were blessed with really the only sunset set of the festival, and they gave that stunning sunset a perfect pairing. The set concentrated heavily on material off their upcoming record, showing off a much bubblier, more danceable version of Sylvan Esso. Singer Amelia Meath moves so frantically all around the stage that it’s almost impossible to keep watching her, which is exactly why you shouldn’t take an eye off her. Their set was so perfect, that they even managed to sync up their beautiful atmospheric single, “Coffee,” with the sun setting behind them.
Shortly after Sylvan Esso’s set, the winds started picking up pretty hard. The jumbotrons throughout the venue warned that James Blake’s set has been postponed an hour while for the winds to calm. I am not the type of gonzo journalist that will stick things out through all weather. Mostly because I’m old, I was getting over a cold, and I’m just not very tough. So, I left. Which was OK, because James Blake never took the stage, opting to play a free show for ticket holders the following night at The Fox in Oakland. Purity Ring and Sigur Rós both did, in fact, play their sets, but I was home, enjoying some hot cocoa and getting ready for bed. However, from what I’ve gathered from the folks who stuck it out, those sets were great.
Sadly, it’s been confirmed that this will be the final time we get to enjoy the Treasure Island Music Festival on the island. It’s been a fantastic decade, and I can’t wait to see what Noise Pop brings next year!