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Treasure Island Music Festival 2013: Top sets

TIMF_postPhotos by Marc Fong

Treasure Island Music Festival delivered one its best artist lineups in recent years October 19 & 20, allowing fans to immerse themselves in some of the best progressive dance and indie rock today. The festival seemed louder this year (that’s a good thing), and a sold out Saturday raged harder than most other TIMF days in the past. Sunday featured many acts with a tendency to inspire dancing and earplug use more than past Treasure Island Sundays (that is also a good thing).

Thoughts of lovely Indian Summer evenings were washed away by cold evenings, something that was on the mind of many artists. In the world of live music, artists are forced to choose style over function in relation to the idea of look versus comfort. Brian King from Japandroids must wear his white t-shirt and Alexis Krauss from Sleigh Bells has to show some leg, but fest-goers can wrap themselves in emergency blankets, furry costumes and bundles of layers. So we had that going for us.

View our show reviews below, including eight performances named TOP SET, along with hundreds of artist and scene photos.

SATURDAY

Saturday ~ October 19, 2013

Atoms-For-Peace1
Atoms For Peace ~ TOP SET
Saturday • Bridge Stage • 9:25pm

Thom Yorke does not like “playing at sea”, so don’t hold your breath in regards to Atoms For Peace playing SS Coachella anytime soon. Thom might not win any new fans with his ‘witty banter’, but the infectious cacophony he produced with Flea, Nigel Godrich, Joey Waronker and Mauro Refosco was difficult to ignore, or stand still to. Barrage is one word that comes to mind as you are pummeled by bass and drums at almost every moment, and it’s evident Flea loves the challenge of bringing the most complex afro-funk bass lines he humanly can. Atoms can’t slow down, they go hard the whole show. Hell, even the originally sedate UNKLE track “Rabbit in Your Headlight” had a rousing pulse to it. This is where Yorke wants to be, this is the sound that he wants to produce, especially as he brings his hyper-rhythmic love over into his primary project. -Kevin Quandt


Phantogram
Phantogram
Saturday • Tunnel Stage • 8:35pm

Phantogram are back on the road, road testing new material from their new self-titled EP and a forthcoming long player, and they closed out the Tunnel Stage Saturday with a rocking psychedelic dance party. “Black Out Days” packs a punch as powerful as “Don’t Move”, which closed out the set. “Nothing But Trouble” and “Howling at the Moon” (song titles unconfirmed) were two tracks the band unveiled despite commenting that they probably should not be playing them. Despite a few technical glitches and unwanted feedback, Sarah Barthel’s voice was flawless and the new material received a big response, adding up to one of the many highlights Saturday night. -Kevin Raos


Little-Dragon
Little Dragon
Saturday • Bridge Stage • 7:40pm

Swedish electro-pop group Little Dragon continues to mature with age. Performing on the big stage towards the end of the night, they were certainly granted the respect that they deserve. Having just wrapped the recording of their fourth studio album due in the spring, Little Dragon was eager to demonstrate their evolved sound to the eager crowd, giving older songs a new, sonically swirling spin while debuting a new song or two. Fronted by the talented vocals of Yukimi Nagano, Little Dragon sounded as good as ever on the island. -KR


Holy-Ghost
Holy Ghost! ~ TOP SET
Saturday • Tunnel Stage • 6:50pm

The largest act off DFA Records to be part of the bill since LCD Soundsystem, Holy Ghost! kept the “dance bar” raised high during their Sunset shift on Saturday at the Tunnel stage. Predominately playing tracks off their recently released 2013 album Dynamics, the New York disco distributors started a dance party almost immediately as the first notes hit the audience’s ears. Electrifying the crowd with new sing along favorites “Dumb Disco Ideas” and “Dance a Little Closer,” the Bay Area got a taste of what these boys will have on deck for their just announced New Year’s Eve headlining show at The Independent. -Molly Kish


Major-Lazer
Major Lazer
Saturday • Bridge Stage • 5:55pm

For a festival act, it’s hard to top the energy that Diplo and the Major Lazer crew bring to the stage. Riding a tsunami of booty clapping trap music into the rest of the evening’s insane line up, the crowd lost their collective minds witnessing the onstage antics and bone shattering bass lines of Major Lazer’s early evening set. Vuvuzelas blared, sirens rang and between the acts’ revamped hype-man roster, twerk army and Diplo’s human hamster ball, the festival escalated quite rapidly into full-throttle rage mode. -MK


DJ-Falcon
DJ Falcon
Saturday • Tunnel Stage • 5:10pm

French DJ & producer Stéphane Quême, aka DJ Falcon, had a prime time slot on paper, but his audience was rather small. It looked like most folks were taking a breather or getting food between Disclosure and Major Lazer. While there was plenty of space at the Tunnel Stage for DJ Falcon, it was filled out by dance-heads that had to keep the train moving. The set ended with Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” into “Give Life Back to Music”, but the set would have had a bigger impact by ending with his own Random Access Memories cut “Contact”. -Mike Frash


Disclosure
Disclosure ~ TOP SET
Saturday • Bridge Stage • 4:20pm

The brothers Lawrence returned to the Bay Area for their second ever show, exemplifying how much things can change in the course of a year. Disclosure attracted the most dense and one of the most mentally immersed crowds of the weekend — it’s safe to say the UK duo are the most popular electronic act on the planet at the moment. From the moment these two fans set the tone of the show by sharing a lollipop, Guy and Howard Lawrence performed most of the tracks off their landmark first LP Settle, adding live drum and bass instrumentation. “Help Me Lose My Mind” was especially effective at slowing down the BPMs late in the set while keeping emotions high. If they could manage to bring along the likes of Jessie Ware, Aluna Francis, London Grammar & Sam Smith on tour with them to sing in the flesh, Disclosure would pack in arenas from Sydney to San Francisco. -MF


Poolside
Poolside
Saturday • Tunnel Stage • 3:35pm

Poolside curated a mellow, island vibe that suited the bright afternoon sun at the Tunnel stage. Ultra-catchy songs like “Why You Wanna”, “Do You Believe” and “Slow Down” deliver seductive mantras that are hypnotic, yet keep you swaying to the beat. A bonus Poolside highlight came for those that were lucky enough to stick around after Atoms for Peace had finished for an intimate Poolside DJ set on the way out. -KR


Danny-Brown
Danny Brown
Saturday • Bridge Stage • 2:45pm

This late addition to the lineup was embraced, even if we had to lose the UK rarity that is Tricky, and his early Saturday showcase allowed him to span his releases more fully, primarily with the release of Old. A long intro built hype nicely, and by the time Danny Brown sauntered onto stage, the youthful crowd was revved up and eating from the MCs hand for the remainder of a high-energy set. Highlights included “Radio Song” and “Monopoly” off XXX. The sky’s the limit for Brown as he settles into his newfound ‘King of Weird’ title. -KQ


Robert-DeLong
Robert DeLong
Saturday • Tunnel Stage • 2:00pm

21st century one man band Robert DeLong inspired early movement from the audience with his danceable, percussive beats. Equipped with an array of musical toys, DeLong demonstrated his ability to create deep layers of sound with only the use of his two hands. Robert DeLong is clearly a drummer at heart, however he takes his music to another level, synchronizing his beats through the tip of his drum stick. DeLong continues to build smart and innovative beats in a live environment, surpassing many of his ‘button-pushing’ peers in technique and output. -KR


ADULT.
Saturday • Bridge Stage • 1:15pm

Goth electro rockers ADULT. warmed up the main stage in a big way Saturday. Dressed in all black with a heavy dose of leather, singer Nicola Kuperus and beatmaker Adam Lee Miller, were battling the heat of the sun the entire set. Kuperus commented on her desire for the sun to go away and contemplated refuge under the stage. Kuperos, however, found relief from the sun during the final two songs when she jumped into the audience to perform at crowd level. Kuperos eventually found a patch of shade to the left of the stage under a tree to close out the set. -KR


SUNDAY
Sunday ~ October 20, 2013

Beck
Beck ~ TOP SET
SUNDAY • Bridge Stage • 9:25pm

Beck emerged for his Sunday headlining set about 25 minutes after the printed time, but he more than made up for it by playing a collection of upbeat material to help “keep us warm” well past 11pm. All in all, the set was a greatest hits showcase — the Bay Area weekend warriors still rocking on the island heard “Devil’s Haircut”, “Loser”, “E-Pro”, “Girl”, and to end the night “Where It’s At”. New songs like “I Won’t Be Long” and “Defriended” didn’t get played, but the final show of the fest did see one of the only guest appearances of the weekend. Beck treated the Bay to the live debut of “Let’s Get Lost” from the Twilight:Eclipse soundtrack, enlisting Alexis Krauss from Sleigh Bells for the wonderful duet. This surprise was only topped when Beck reminded us he was ‘bringing that quiet storm’ during “I Wanna Get With You (And Your Sister, Debra)”. Beck showed, yet again, that he is one of the coolest guys in music. -MF


Sleigh-Bells
Sleigh Bells
SUNDAY • Tunnel Stage • 8:30pm

Alexis Krauss and Derek E. Miller closed down the Tunnel Stage on a bitterly chilly Sunday evening. Though many in the crowd, and likely on stage, weren’t too cold for too long as the energy levels rose quickly as thick riffs and bombastic beats came rushing from off the Bay. “Comeback Kid” and “Tiger Kit” were early highlights in the set. Showbams contributors were commenting that Sleigh Bells has become a quintessentially solid festival band that all can enjoy and head-band along to. Even though it was the second to last set of the event, it would’t be the last time Alexis graced the stage on this night. -KQ


Animal-Collective
Animal Collective ~ TOP SET
SUNDAY • Bridge Stage • 7:40pm

Ramping up the “weird” during the festival’s most surreal performance, Animal Collective pulled out rare cuts and old classics for their Sunday night set on the Bridge Stage. Bringing along their all-consuming, giant mouth set design from the Centipede HZ tour this past year, the boys blew the minds of the early evening crowd with their intense visuals, spasmodic stage show and extended psychedelic jam session. Shying away from the radio hits, Animal Collective delved deep into their catalogue for a surprising set list with songs like “The Purple Bottle”, catering to an audience full of devoted fans and impressed noobs. A bold scheduling call for the traditionally more mellow of the two days, Animal Collective fulfilled the TIMF diversity quotient while properly mind-fucking the withstanding festival-weary crowd. -MK


Japandroids
Japandroids
SUNDAY • Tunnel Stage • 6:50pm

It’s hard to fathom how many miles on the road Brian Davis and David Prowse have racked up since the release of Celebration Rock. Treasure Island was their last show in the continent for a while, but they continue on to far off places before taking their well-earned break. In the meantime, the Canadian duo did their best to shake off the brisk wind by blazing through songs like “The Night of Wine and Roses” and “Fire’s Highway”. The enthusiastic crowd bopped along in a combination of adoration and warmth.  -KQ


James-Blake
James Blake ~ TOP SET
SUNDAY • Bridge Stage • 6:00pm

James Blake‘s sound fit the moment exquisitely as the sun began to disappear behind a long band of fog that threatened to take over Treasure Island. Blake now tours as a trio, wisely adding live percussion to enhance his dreamy soundscapes. Confident yet mostly stoic, Blake’s measured vocals hung in the brisk fall air to mostly pin-drop silence. The progressive nature of the 25-year old’s music suddenly feels so familiar since Blake blasted into the worldwide music scene four years ago. Maybe its a product of his influence, or just the fact that his heavenly voice, modulated or not, blends so well with his post-dubstep-based production. This set elicited gasps of joy from the throngs of female fans along the stage rail, and the ending of “Overgrown” had an orgasmic effect on a couple of people near me. Set placement of songs was ideal — “Retrograde” and “The Wilhelm Scream” bookended the performance perfectly, and “Voyeur” stole the show, igniting an extended dance session. James Blake is simply a legend in the making. -MF


Real-Estate
Real Estate
SUNDAY • Tunnel Stage • 5:10pm

Sunday afternoons don’t get much more ideal than sail boats as a backdrop, sun in our eyes and Real Estate churning out their breezy style of surfed-out indie rock. However, this set was not a showcase of previously released material, but rather a showcase of new material, and even a new touring keyboard player. Even with a few brand new songs filling their set, Real Estate still managed to represent both of their stellar releases. “Green Aisles” was especially strong as a large palm tree behind the stage swayed along with the crowd. -KQ


Starfucker
STRFKR
SUNDAY • Bridge Stage • 4:20pm

STRFKR sees you’re confetti cannons and giant hamster ball Diplo and ‘raises you’ a crowd surfing astronaut and an army of blow up dolls! STRFKR pulled out all of the stops for their over the top afternoon performance. Pulling from their four full length albums, the boys were out there to get the crowd moving. While catching the last glimpses of sunlight on the Bridge Stage, the band executed one of their most polished Bay Area performances to date amongst a complete shit show of on stage distractions and “hype animals.” Dancing furries, a sumo wrestling battle and simulated oral sex/bestiality provided humorous stage antics for the second half of the set. Depending on your mindset during this point in the weekend, the show either came off as unnecessary overcompensation or one of the best shows Sunday. -MK


HAIM
HAIM ~ TOP SET
SUNDAY • Tunnel Stage • 3:35pm

How is it possible that the spunky LA-based sister trio HAIM has never played a proper set in San Francisco until TIMF? Well, if life is about first impressions, the Bay Area is smitten. Part of HAIM’s success lies in their equal value and contributions to the group — Este, Danielle & Alana Haim share singing duties, adorable stage banter and the ability to play their instruments magnificently. Most of all though, it’s HAIM’s fearless and passionate approach to everything they do that is most memorable. They are all very comfortable on stage, as seen through their ‘in the moment’ mentality, responding to calls from the crowd and telling people to throw their food on stage for a mid-set snack. “Honey and I” got a stripped down treatment that worked well, something the ladies said they did specially for SF. Asking if we were ready to dance, HAIM launched into “Forever”, and TIMF obliged. This international sensation has finally played the other end of their home state, and HAIM is likely to play theater-sized venues next time they are back. -MF


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  1. Reblogged this on The Live Bite.

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  1. […] Phantogram // Marc Fong Treasure Island Music Festival // 10.19.13 […]

  2. […] Foals – Coachella (Weekend 1) – April 12th 05. Atoms For Peace – Treasure Island Music Festival – October 29th 06. Deerhunter – FYF – August 24th 07. Bassnectar – Fox Theater Oakland – […]

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