The Treasure Island Music Festival took over the gorgeous location in the middle of the Bay, providing a unique setting to enjoy dozens of acts across many genres. Whether rocking out to Best Coast or getting hype with Public Enemy, there was no shortage of dancing throughout the event.
Highlights from this year:
Toro Y Moi
Expecting a mellow chillwave set, Toro Y Moi, who recently relocated to the Bay Area, pleasantly surprised the audience with funky high-energy tunes. Songs like “New Beat” and “Still Sound” had a classy jam band feel and no one was standing still.
The MPC master went non-stop on his drum machine with intense beats, fusing electronic and hip hop with elements of dubstep and trap music throughout. A crowd favorite was his chopped up version of Flux Pavilion’s “I Can’t Stop” and the sun set to rattling bass and high hats with a few hype men fueling the pit.
What on paper appeared to be an odd addition to the lineup, Public Enemy dug deep into its catalog (dating back to 1988) for an energetic set led by Chuck D and Flavor Flav. Even after 25 years, the group’s message remains potent with Chuck D dropping F-bombs for mainstream urban radio and Viacom while shouting out local radio personality Davey D and community stations KPOO and KPFA. Despite flaunting all red and and a New York Giants hat (the team the Niners played on Sunday), Flavor Flav was a crowd favorite—the ultimate hype man.
After a big year with the Occupy Movement, most notably helping to shut down the Port of Oakland, rapper/activist Boots Riley hit the stage early in the day Saturday with The Coup. The group sounded more crisp than the handful of times we’ve seen them in the past as they debuted new tracks from Sorry to Bother You, a new album due out October 30, and classics from Genocide and Juice “Gunsmoke” and “Fat Cats, Bigga Fish.” But with no DJ, we missed having Pam the Funkstress in the mix.
With surf rock lyrics and a crisper sound than their recorded material, Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino wooed the crowd with her dreamy vocals. Once a slightly awkward indie band, Best Coast was right at home playing on the main stage showing a refined rock group.
Beth Ditto had the audience in the palm of her hand as she ran through all the poppy Gossip tunes and chatted with the crowd in between songs. With a new album recently released, she kept the flow balanced between newer content and older favorites like “Move in the Right Direction” and “Heavy Cross.”
Day two indie pop headliners The xx were crowd favorites and brought the festival to a close with their melancholy songs highlighted by Romy Madley Croft’s sultry voice. While most of the audience was excited about this performance, the band closed out the weekend on a more somber note than most would have liked.
Local DJs spun everything from deep house and disco to hip hop while headphone wearing festival-goers danced under a perfectly lit wooded setting. Standout moments included Deejay Theory’s moombahsoul set Saturday afternoon and Sleazemore and Richie Panic of Lights Down Low’s next level experimental house music later that night.