I was downright giddy to attend the first-ever Treasure Island Music Festival this weekend, and the two-day event far exceeded my expectations. Yesterday, I gave you a gallery and my thoughts on the fest, and today, I'm breaking down the highs and lows of the performances.
As with any festival, it was fun to get turned on to some new artists. In the discovery department, I was probably most charmed by the cello-buttressed indie rock of Sea Wolf, while YumSugar was impressed by the tango revisionists Gotan Project. It was also pretty awesome to see the newest Modest Mouse member, Johnny Marr of the Smiths, tearing it up again. For all of my highlights and disappointments,
- M.I.A.: I expected this to be one of the highest-energy shows at TI Fest, and the Sri Lankan rapper and her crowd did not disappoint. During "Paper Planes," M.I.A. started scaling the stage, and at another point, about 30 women from the audience joined her for a wicked group dance.
Funny aside: My friend Phil, who snapped the photo below, overheard one pair of girls debating whether or not to go on stage to dance. Girl #1: "Come on, let's go!" Girl #2: "But what am I going to do with my bag?" Girl #1: "Just leave it!" Girl #2: "This bag was $4,000 dollars. I am not leaving it!" Ok, If you want to spend $4,000 on a bag, that's your business, but why would you bring it to an outdoor music festival?
- Spoon: As you may remember, I'm rather obsessed with the new Spoon album, and I couldn't wait to see how the dance-inducing songs sounded live. The energy was infectious and, even better, the musicians also brought out the music's slightly bizarre, trippier vibe during a few stretches.
- M. Ward: The last time I saw M. Ward, his performance was a bit too folksy and subdued to hook me. But in this early afternoon show on Sunday, he was powerfully channeling every bit of his ragged blues influence, pounding on a grand piano and coming off like a soulful veteran.
- DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist: Even YumSugar, who is a huge DJ Shadow fan, agreed that this set was disappointingly dull. Given, there's something kind of wrong about seeing a DJ set in the middle of the day, but the concept — dueling DJs using on 45s — sounded awesome. Unfortunately, the music choices were pretty lackluster.
- Clap Your Hands Say Yeah: I really adore this band's beautifully unbalanced music, but both times I've seen CYHSY live, the off-kilter charm has translated into too-rough performances. The songs lacked focus, and the sound regulation was all over the map.