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Father John Misty, The Dodos & Geographer set a dreamy tone on Treasure Island

Bay area music fans were treated to an intimate mini-music fest on Treasure Island Sunday evening courtesy of Jansport, and a combination of immaculate weather, free BBQ, beers and good vibes established a dreamlike good time. While the perks and schwag were nice, most people were there to see local acts The Dodos, Geographer, White Fence & “a special appearance from Father John Misty.” The view wasn’t too bad either.

White Fence

Most people were walking in to the psychedelic distortion-pop duo White Fence. They came and went like ghosts in the night, as most attendees didn’t acknowledge the group at the beginning, middle or end of the set. Still, White Fence’s sound matched up perfectly with the kickback feeling and served as a suitable opener for the next three acts.

Geographer

The sunset show featured San Francisco’s Geographer. The trio continued the surreal & floaty feeling with their unique take on dream pop; Nathan Blaz’s cello adds such layered emotion to every song, and when matched with Michael Deni’s vocals and his litany of sound-making devices, good things happen. And in an era where it’s ok for bands to have electronic drums, Brian Ostreicher does a fine job.

Deni mentioned that he was bummed he couldn’t make it to Treasure Island Music Festival in two weekends, but he basically said this was the next best thing. Most people who made it to Treasure Island Sunday night would probably agree.

Father John Misty

Once Father John Misty, aka John Tillman, arrived on stage it was clear he was not with his band. The very special appearance meant that he was performing a solo acoustic set. The term “special appearance” is absolutely appropriate, as Tillman performed just about every track off his 2012 album “Fear Fun.” Without his backing band, his sharp lyrics hung in the air to pin-drop silence. He seemed less in character compared to the spotlight loving aura he usually performs with. It seems like Tillman has fully embraced his Father John Misty persona to the point that it is him now, and he is confident and entertaining.

During “Only Son of the Ladiesman,” he sang the lyrics “I’m a steady hand, I’m a Dodger fan,” which elicited huge boos from the SF crowd. Father John then added the line “I don’t care about baseball.” “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” was haunting with just voice and acoustic strums and was a clear set highlight. During the song “Everyman Needs a Companion,” the lyric “I never liked the name Joshua” felt more haunting & confessional than ever. Without the backing band’s presence & rhythm, and with the intimate crowd presence, Father John Misty offered a glimpse of why he left guaranteed success as the Fleet Foxes drummer to strike it out on his own. The man was not meant to be on the back part of the stage. This intimate set was one for the ages.

The Dodos

Holy shit this set threw people for a loop. The Dodos have been away for a bit, and the duo comprised of Meric Long and Logan Kroeber debuted new songs and a new sound, which seems to be somewhere between Cloud Nothings and the Japandroids’ new albums. The Dodos are about to reveal themselves as a a building wall of sound that is very danceable when they head out on tour with Calexico this month.

Since only a couple tracks from their first three albums were played, the set was a bit of a blur. Maybe the free beers had something to do with that. But the set featured mostly songs with fast beats, and the duo have clearly abandoned their folk roots for now. It felt perfectly acceptable for the night to end on an upbeat note.

Jansport should be commended for putting on an excellent, free music experience that wasn’t overly “corporate” to the indie crowd that was lucky enough to enjoy this evening on Treasure Island.

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