While Edwin was providing ipickmynose’s coverage for both day 1 and day 2 at the second Treasure Island Music Festival, I just went Sunday a little bit incognito. I also lucked into a photo pass. Here are my thoughts about the bands and the festival.
I was excited by the line up going into Sunday afternoon: John Vanderslice; Or, the Whale; the Morning Benders, Port O’Brien, Fleet Foxes, the Dodos and Dr. Dog. Most bands I’d enjoyed seeing before but a few ones that I hadn’t seen and was looking forward to.
Or, the Whale (myspace) were the first band up for the day. Their set was impossibly short, but managed to jam in some new tunes (“Rusty Gold”) as well as some of my favorites (“Fight Song”, “Call and Response”). It was a solid set and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I didn’t hear more good things from other people about any other band that day than about Or, the Whale.
John Vanderslice (myspace) was up next on the big stage. It seemed like forever since I’d seen JV in a full band set up. He and company were ready to rock hard and they did on old tunes (“Pale Horse”, “Exodus Damage”) and some new ones (“Too Much Time”). From the sounds of it, the awesome seems like it’ll be awesome.
After JV, Port O’Brien (myspace) was up on the small stage. As much as I wanted to be tired of their thing, I enjoyed the set–it was a fun time. Of course it ended with “I Woke Up Today” but how could it not?
After Port O’Brien, Tokyo Police Club was on the main stage. They sounded thoroughly ununique to me.
The Morning Benders (myspace) took the small stage and promptly got my head bobbing along. Their sunshiney pop sensibilities seemed to fit in well with a young, cloudless afternoon in the middle of the Bay.
Okkervil River was next on the main stage. They put on a decent set, though I still don’t see the necessity of the Cult of Will Sheff. That said, songs like “Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe” were fun. Also, Sheff made very deep philosophical arguments for clapping along. He convinced me.
The critics’ darling Fleet Foxes were up next on the main stage. Their pastoral hymn folk came across well live–their vocals and harmonies were spot on. They’re also pretty funny with their banter. They managed to make their set feel long by prematurely ending it a couple times and then starting up “one more song”. One of my favorite songwriters, J Tillman now plays drums and sings with them. As nice as the Fleet Foxes set was, I would have rather seen Tillman.
Spiritualized were up next on the name stage. I didn’t want to hear this music but it was loud enough that I had to.
The locals on the meteoric rise to fame, the Dodos (myspace) were up next on the small stage. Reports were that the sound was bad near the stage, but farther back, where I was, I liked the mix–I could hear Joe’s parts well (vibraphone, toy piano, trash can) as well as Meric and Logan. They played an intense set, like every time I’ve seen them, but not quite as intense as some of the club sets that I’ve seen.
Vampire Weekend was up on the main stage next. How little do I care about Vampire Weekend?
Dr. Dog (myspace) took the small stage and went all out on their performance, while accompanied by Graham and Pat of Rogue Wave. Their set was solid and induced head-bobbing. It was a nice accompaniment to the sun setting, but not revolutionary.
The strains of Tegan and Sara as I was heading out didn’t entice me to stay.
the Scenes and Recap
When I first hear about Treasure Island I was very skeptical of the logistics. In the end, the logistics were pretty well worked out–the shuttle buses were comfortable and reasonably efficient.
The stage set up–two stages at right angles, a few hundred yards apart–worked out well. One could see all the bands if one wished despite bands starting immediately after one another on alternating stages.
As much as I liked the line up for this chunk of the day and as much as I appreciate support of local bands, the overall line up was pretty predictable and one might even say stale. Another issue is the cost: it’s clever to give a lot of the people writing prominently about the festival free tickets, because at $65 plus ridiculous fees plus an expensive drink or two plus an expensive meal (both of which are pretty much required if one was to stay for a whole day), one’s looking at $100+ per day of music. For me that’s still ~$14 per band that I wanted to see. I could see most of these bands for that price or cheaper in smaller venues.
But not having to pay for a ticket, I had a much better time than I expected even though I’m not a big fan of open air festivals.