Once upon a time, a Seattle girl dreamt of an island filled with indie rock and pop-electronica music, beaming with sunshine, lined with the finest food trucks and hundreds of music lovers merrily intoxicated from cold beers and their music-high– quite possibly, every music snob’s dream. And a ferris wheel! There must be a ferris wheel! Recently, I’ve learned that such a place exists. For myself and thousands of others, this dream becomes a reality this weekend on Treasure Island, smack dab in the middle of the San Francisco Bay.
Noise Pop and Another Planet Entertainment present Treasure Island Music Festival, taking over the Bay Area on October 15-16th. “Camp for adults” is another name for it, especially with the arts and crafts Treasure Chest. Who wouldn’t want to down a drink or three and sew a beer koozie between life-changing sets and light shows. Ferris wheels have always had a soft spot in my heart and the only thing better than riding a 60 ft. ferris wheel at sunset is watching your favorite band’s light show from the top of said ferris wheel.
This year’s lineup features a laundry list of old and new favorites:
Saturday: October 15th
Empire of the Sun: Known for their fantasy-like costumes and unbeatable stage presence, Empire of the Sun entertains their audience one way or another, keeping their audience hooked until fans walk away confused about what they saw and how much of it really happened.
Cut Copy: To this day, the best dance party I have ever been to. Cut Copy wows their audience with their electric-pop dance numbers, sweating through their dress shirts, surrounded by clouds of smoke and lights– a nearly religious experience.
Death from Above 1979: If you want to see an honest to goodness display of rocking hard and crossing every line separating genres, Death from Above is a sure-fire way to have your mind blown through your ears.
Chromeo: With a flawless combination of melodies and heavy dance beats, Chromeo has proven to be a crowd favorite. And who can argue with a band that “suits up” for the occasion.
Dizzee Rascal: One of the first to convince me I enjoyed hip-hop music, Dizzee Rascal knows how to rev up a crowd. Anyone who can rap over a Nirvana track is okay in my book. There is nothing subtle about this UK rappers performance, to say he draws a high-energy crowd would be a great understatement.
Flying Lotus: An act I have yet to see live that has only been described to me as mesmerizing and mind-altering in a way that makes you appreciate the skill and raise your standards for electronic music.
Buraka Som Systema: A mix of sounds that will likely surprise festival goers.
Battles: Using a sequence of beautifully crafted sounds, Battles keeps their audience’s attention with melodies and unexpected transitions that allow fans to make up their own stories for each track.
The Naked and Famous: Who doesn’t like high-energy pop music loaded with synths, memorable verses and obvious sing-along chorus lines? No one.
YACHT: This charming Portland duo spent their summer charming crowds and continue to do so with ease. Being a musician, one must leave room for things to get a little weird and this band has taken that to heart in the best possible way.
Shabazz Palaces: This Seattle group, recently signed to Sub Pop records, is no stranger to big crowds. Shabazz Palaces prove themselves as an impressive duo with their tribal-influenced beats and experiments with sounds. Who knew Seattle had such an original hip-hop scene.
Aloe Blacc: Since the hype over his song, “I need a dollar”, Aloe Blacc has audiences singing along to his mo-town-esque soul-filled stories.
Geographer: Another band at the top of my “to see” list, perfectly demonstrating what happens when pop music and electronic sounds meet in the middle to put on an undeniably refreshing and upbeat show.
Sunday: October 16th
Death Cab for Cutie: Any and every indie-music lover’s favorite. Just about everyone has a nostalgic Death Cab memory. Their live sets make old and new songs so much more meaningful. Just imagine hearing “Transatlanticism” while looking out across the island.
Explosions in the Sky: A powerful explosion of sounds, making it easy for fans to get lost in the music while listening to each song flow into the next. As “flawy” as it might sound at times, they’re called Explosions in the Sky for a reason.
Beach House: Hauntingly beautiful vocals and appropriately simple instrumentals are exactly why Beach House made it on to so many summer playlists. Beach House seduces their fans, sometimes enough to hush up an entire festival.
The Hold Steady: Adding a bit more of a rock and roll sound to the festival, The Hold Steady has proven themselves to be a tough act to foliow. While these guys are an old favorite of many, they can keep up with any young gun any day.
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks: Another rock addition to the festival. With their serious Zeppelin potential, Stephen Malkmus and company have a tendency to bring out the hair-swinging, fist-pumping rocker in anyone.
Friendly Fires: Since the release of their album “Pala”, Friedly Fires are well suited for any dance party. For those who are late to the Friendly Fires dance party, no sweat. This one could go all night.
St. Vincent: Seems like St. Vincent is everyone’s current favorite. With the release of her new album,”Strange Mercy”, this girl’s the full package: beauty and a voice that stuns, perfectly backed by creepy and catchy instrumentals.
The Head and the Heart: This band has had quite the year, but songs like “Lost in my Mind” and group chants to “Rivers and Roads” never seem to get old. It’s hard not to clap and stomp along with a band that has as much fun on stage as the audience they’re giving their best to.
Wild Beasts: Pop music with a hint of strange. Wild Beasts have an incredibly distinct sound, setting them apart from comparable acts.
Warpaint: Sure to keep a crowd pindrop-quiet, just until the beat kicks in and attention shifts to the detailed yet organized melody. Warpaint is another act to add to the list of eye-catching female vocalists playing this year’s festival.
The Antlers: A band with a stunning sound, The Antlers are known for their story telling. Their music sticks with you in a way that keeps fans replaying their songs to find their own interpretations.
Thee Oh Sees: With a non-traditional rock sound, Thee Oh Sees’ elaborate, psychedelic songs show how one band’s jam session can easily become a fan’s favorite track to get lost in.
Weekend: A noise-pop band from the Bay Area that is sure to be one of the festivals big surprises. While San Francisco locals might be well acquainted with Weekend, the rest of us might learn a thing or two about loving lo-fi.
If this lineup isn’t enough, there’s the night shows featuring The Head and the Heart, The Drums, Thao With The Get Down Stay Down and a handful of other notable acts. Sony Entertainment Network hosts their Silent Disco tent, showcasing a full day of dj sets for the islanders with their headphones surgically melded to their ears or sewn to their slouchy beanie. In case the overwhelming lineup and range of activities isn’t enough to sway festival goers, balloon trains and inflatable jelly fish light up the festival at night, further enhancing the “magic” of Treasure Island.
Indianna Jones may have filmed The Last Crusade on the island, but music lovers are taking it back, at least for the weekend. The bay will be a bit rowdy for a couple days. I’d say we’ll do our best to keep it down, but why make promises you have no intention of keeping.