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Treasure Island Music Festival: 10 best sets

Treasure Island Music festival has a lot going for it. It’s smack dab during the nicest time of year in San Francisco, and the weather obliged this year. No sets overlap – you can see every single there if you can manage to get there in time – and the two stages are right next to each other. The view of the city by the bay never gets old, and many artist rightfully pointed out how great the view is. And the music curation delivered, as this year was a bit of a sleeper.

Scroll down to view the 10 best sets of the weekend, along with 10 more great sets.
What was your favorite set of the weekend? Leave a comment below.

1. The xx

Sunday was more crowded than Saturday, which is a testament to the rising worldwide power of The xx. Their newfound headline status was re-confirmed, as they were anything but mellow or boring. From the first notes of “Angel,” the festival crowd was rapturously involved. They were loud during the blasts & dance parts, and quiete during the subtleties. And the fan girls – The xx now has a screeching contingency of fangirls as if we were watching The Beatles or Justin Bieber.

The surprisingly respectful crowd added to a mind-blowing live show. Jamie xx has had a clear impact on The xx’s live show. Mid-set there was a string of songs that included “Reunion,” “Sunset” & “Swept Away” and was bridged by Jamie xx’s micro-house beats. A 20-30 minute dance sequence was not expected but certainly invited. And Romy Croft & Oliver Sim have such great voices live, and they play the parts well that they have invented in their songwriting. They were worth the price of admission Sunday.

2. The Presets

Aussie-Pop dance duo The Presets returned the US friday to play an epic show at The Independent. They were just as entertaining the second night in a row at TIMF. Their new live show melds dance beats and drops, live instrumentation, apocalyptic Aussie-charm vocals, and a killer light and video show that will satisfy most contemporary music fans. Their live show, which featured many new songs from Pacifica, turned into a dance party in no time.

They proved they are ready for the festival circuit just as it wraps up in the northern hemisphere. They’ll return come 2013 to headline Coachella, Bonnaroo, and everywhere in between if they’d like. After putting out one of the best albums of the year and showing the Bay area this past weekend that they put on a stellar show that plays both to small and large audiences.

3. M83

M83 has been touring on “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” forever. And why not, it’s one of the best albums of the last decade. The best part about the epic touring schedule is that they’ve gotten much better live. Last November at the Mezzanine they performed “Midnight City” without a saxophone solo and killed the momentum of the set with a poor performance of the wonderful slow song “Wait.”

About a year later, they have crafted a spectacular festival set that features songs that turn into dancey remixes of themselves and no slow songs. The group’s energy was infectious sunday, with Anthony Gonzalez, Yann Gonzalez & Morgan Kibby blasting off with kinetic energy nonstop. The 50 minutes passed by and the show ended with Anthony spraying the crowd with champagne as if they’ve reached the finish line. M83 indeed has come a long way in a year.

4. Matthew Dear

Matthew Dear put on a rock & roll set that showed off his dance moves, voice & stage presence. He stays away from adding many effects or relying heavily on digital music with his live group, and the super bassy vocal effect he uses on his voice on the newest LP was almost missed on tracks like “Headcage” & “Her Fantasy.” But their reconstruction of digital-sounding dance tunes worked well live, even though the crowd was sparse and Matthew Dear’s set would play better at night or inside (with lights).

5. araabMUZIK

AraabMUZIK is a beat machine. The thought “this guy is so completely unique and talented” crept into thought at least 5 times during this set that flew by Saturday. Abraham Orellana is a button pusher but damnit he’s probably the best there is (sorry Girl Talk). He controls and performs every live sound live on the fly with his MIDI pads and collection of mixers and effects. AraabMUZIK is pioneering a subgenre of spinning that micromanages the sound and adds a higher level technical proficiency needed to execute in the live setting. And by putting more on the line, it actually feels like a live performance because it is.

6. Los Campesinos!

7. Divine Fits

8. SBTRKT

9. Tycho

10. Youth Lagoon

10 more great sets

Public Enemy

Toro Y Moi

K Flay

The Coup

Grimes

Girl Talk

Wild Belle

Gossip

Joanna Newsom

Best Coast

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Comments

  1. Grammar Nazi says:

    Gossip, not Metric. Divine Fits not Devine. araabMUZIK not Muzic. SBTRKT was too short to be top 10, Ty Segall should be top 10, Public Enemy too. Get your sheeeet together please.

  2. No Ty Segall or War on Drugs?

    • War on Drugs sounded great from the outside – It would have most likely been in my top 10 if I saw it…We went silent disco during Ty Segall, too much for Sunday morning. Good points though

  3. stage looks like a ship at night. sick!

  4. Great photos!

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