Sep 25, 2007 - 8:47 PM
With the sun shining and postcard views of the San Francisco skyline behind them, thousands of music lovers made their way into the first Treasure Island Music Festival, held on September 15 and 16.
As the first major concert held on the manmade land mass, it was important that the festival boast not only two-stages and a lineup that could stand up to the other music festivals held in California, but an event where no performances overlapped, allowing concertgoers to catch each act.
One of the main attractions wasn’t a music group, but a Ferris Wheel. The beautiful weather and view drew a line longer than the sets of some of the acts featured on the smaller stage. The vibe was equally chill on both days. Saturday saw the revival of the rave scene with concertgoers happily shaking their shoulders to the electronic dance music that seems to be the hipster du jour these days, while Sunday brought the knee-popping, toe-tapping dance moves out of the indie pop kids.
Both days had their pluses and minuses, but Saturday’s lineup came out on top with performances by some of today’s most talked about electro-influenced artists like M.I.A., DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist, Gotan Project and headliners Thievery Corporation.
Fans raved about M.I.A.’s booty-shaking set that ended with her climbing a stage column to hype the crowd while singing her infectious, gunshot-sampling “Paper Planes,” off her critically acclaimed second album Kala. But the most talked about performance was given by vinyl masters DJ Shadow and former Jurassic 5 member DJ Cut Chemist.
With eight turntables, four mixers and only playing 45s, the legendary DJs took the audience on a trip through hip hop history, mixing some of the culture’s most influential artists like Digable Planets, De La Soul and Gangstarr. With two highly regarded mixtapes under their belts, Brainfreeze and Product Placement, they chose the Treasure Island Music Festival as the place to feature their third installment, Natural Extension. Their latest collaboration produced a seamless mix of breaks that only these innovative crate diggers could.
The main stage wasn’t the only reason the event brought people out to the old navy base. Homegrown acts like Honeycut, Kid Beyond and Zion I rocked the small stage, literally. Chicago-based DJ duo Flosstradamus put on an impressive set with their gutter dance mix that included Salt-N-Peppa, Daft Punk and label mates Chromeo.
As the sun set and the bone-chilling wind ran through the island, Gotan Project took the stage and owned the hour with two DJs, a group of violinists, a piano and an accordion player and a female vocalist whose voice took the crowd back to their homelands of Buenos Aires and Paris. Dressed all in white, Gotan Project took complex electronic music and mixed it with classical instrumentation to create South American dance music that had the Bay Area residents ready to do the tango.
Headliners Thievery Corporation were last to take the main stage with their hypnotic blend of acid jazz and lounge music that got the hippies off the grass and on their feet. These Washington DC natives were joined on stage by their many talented friends, and with their exotic visuals, they brought the first day of the festival to an end.
The second day of the festival had its highlights, one being the soulful performance of M. Ward and his full band, which included two drummers. His raspy folk music, mostly songs from his latest album, Post-War, went over well with the crowd on the sun soaked Sunday afternoon.
The rest of the day was filled with adequate performances. Built to Spill started off strong with their guitar drenched indie rock anthems like the fan favorite “Cars,” making their set worth standing in the middle of the crowd for. Austin, Texas’s Spoon put on a tolerable set. Their catchy indie dance music was a much-needed change of pace for the crowd. Instead of standing there with their arms crossed, people were actually dancing, sort of.
Sunday’s headliners Modest Mouse came out, rounding out the first Treasure Island Music Festival. A band known to put on a mesmerizing show, for some reason, was’t able to deliver. Despite it being an off night for the band, they still kept the movers and shakers going to the very last song.
Even though Saturday’s performances overshadowed those on Sunday, it really didn’t matter. With the beautiful weather and picturesque views of San Francisco in the backdrop, it was hard not to enjoy the festival. Why didn’t anyone think of this sooner?