Treasure Island Music Festival landed in San Francisco for its seventh annual weekend installment, October 19 and 20, the site a de-commissioned Naval base accessible only via the Bay Bridge and sandwiched between San Francisco and Oakland. Saturday's line-up was dominated by electronic-leaning artists while rock and pop were the order of the day on Sunday.
The weekend's biggest highlight proved to be Phantogram, a New York duo — vocalist/keyboardist Sarah Barthel and guitarist/vocalist Josh Carter — that has been on tour backing a new EP, Celebrating Nothingthough their show in Atlanta on Halloween is apparently as far South as they're willing to venture on this particular run of dates. The release whets fans' appetites and teases much-anticipated sophomore album Voices, due out sometime in 2014.
[More after the jump, video included...]
Phantogram first came on the scene with 2009's Eyelid Movies, a stimulating debut mixing trip-hop, shoegaze and dream pop aesthetics that earned them play on college radio, and they picked up even more fans after collaborating with Big Boi on his last solo LP. According to Barthel, who I spoke with before the band's 2011 appearance in Ybor City, a Phantogram track was tapped for the upcoming Hunger Gamessequel, which is sure to launch them ever further into the public consciousness.
On this date, Phantogam kicking off their set with the popular "Mouthful of Diamonds" and followed with a setlist drawing much material from Eyelid Movies. The duo were the last act to perform before Thom Yorke's Atoms For Peace closed the night. But Phantogram's performance ushered in frigid weather conditions on the island and was followed by a mass exodus to the warmth of the shuttles , which took the majority of people back to the drop-off point at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in downtown San Francisco. So many people left, in fact, that Yorke even Tweeted about it "Thankyou for everyone who stuck around in th cold at Treasure Islnd San Fran tonight That was a tuff gig!!wet and cold like being the ocean..."
Other Saturday highlights: Detroit rapper Danny Brown, a last-minute replacement for Tricky, who had visa problems and was unable to perform his late afternoon slot, though it still might've been a bit too early for Brown's raps about cannabis and cunnilingus; Swedish ambient dance music outfit Little Dragon; and an enjoyable mid-afternoon "daytime disco" set by Poolside.
Sunday was marked by performances by some of indie rock's biggest acts — Sleigh Bells, Animal Collective and of course, Beck, who went electric and dusted off some tracks from his seminal 1996 LP Odelay. We're still interested in what his two new albums (still apparently scheduled to be released by year-end) will sound like.
At times, the fest seemed more like a fun outdoor activity than a music event for hardcore music lovers — if your opinion is solely based on the number of people who were more interested in chatting with friends than paying attention to the bands performing. But the Silent Disco proved a good place to take a break from chatty crowds, and hanging out around the Robot Dance Party was damned good entertainment as well.
A friendly tip: if you're thinking of making the haul to to the eighth annual TIMF in 2014, just remember that San Francisco is idyllic in October, but gets pretty chilly at night — so bring extra layers. You don't want to be standing around envying those folks with bulky backpacks, who make it hell to get through a crowd but have the last laugh when they don hoodies and sweaters and wrap themselves in warm blankets once the temperature drops around 5 p.m.