Neko Case brings some stomp-foot vigor & sway-sweet happy to the Fox Theater Oakland

Neko CaseBy Ria Burman //

Neko Case with Destroyer //
Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland
December 3rd, 2018 //

Well-known as a member of the two-decade-old indie-rock outfit The New Pornographers, Neko Case delivered a fun and lively performance Monday at the Fox Theater in Oakland.

Singing songs both new and old, Case’s distinctive vocals and guitar playing brought stomp-foot vigor and sway-sweet happy to the crowd, which whooped and cheered throughout the evening. Her stage setup was anchored by a backdrop of hornet nests above the seven-piece that added a simple, yet interesting visual aspect to what ended up being a stellar show.

Destroyer


Destroyer

The distinguishing voice and strums of Case’s creations intertwined beautifully with her backing band, which also featured pedal steel guitar, keyboards, bass and drums, as the setlist on this night ranged from country-tinged tunes to more rocking, folk-driven feels.

Destroyer, which fellow Canadian and frontman Dan Bejar formed back in 1995, opened with Bejar performing a solo acoustic set that included SiriusXMU favorite “Tinseltown Swimming in Blood” from the group’s 2017 album ken and even a new song that has yet to be named.

NEKO CASE

Setlist:
Pitch or Honey
Last Lion of Albion
Deep Red Bells
Winnie
Maybe Sparrow
Margaret vs. Pauline
Calling Cards
Bad Luck
Curse of the I‐5 Corridor
Gumball Blue
Oracle of the Maritimes
Hex
Look for Me (I’ll Be Around)
Halls of Sarah
Dirty Diamond
Hold On, Hold On
Man

Encore:
Hell‐On
The Pharaohs
Loretta
Ragtime
This Tornado Loves You

DESTROYER

Setlist:
(Unknown)
Times Square
Tinseltown Swimming in Blood
Goddess of Drought
A Light Travels Down the Catwalk
Helena
(Unknown) (new song)
Chinatown
Foam Hands

Noise Pop 2015: Who made the ‘most’ of SF’s 12-day indie fest?

Caribou


Caribou at The Fillmore // Photo by Justin Yee

Photos by Justin Yee, Pedro Paredes, Mike Rosati, Alfonso Solis & Nicole Alfaro // Written by Molly Kish //

Noise Pop //
Bay Area venues – San Francisco & Oakland
February 20th-March 1st, 2015 //

2015 marked the Bay Area’s 23rd annual celebration of independent music, art, film and more, affectionately known as Noise Pop. Running 12 full days and taking place at more than 20 different venues throughout SF and the East Bay, this marathon party is best described as the West Coast version of South by Southwest.

Each year, Noise Pop highlights both the biggest stars within the independent music and art industries as well as emerging artists performing at the peak of their games and has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to booking their acts — and this year was no exception. Curating a demographic of music fans with limitless knowledge, expectations and preferential ranges, this festival never fails to create some of the most memorable experiences in live entertainment throughout the Bay Area.

Noise Pop remains one of our favorite times of the year, not only for its amazing lineups and exceptional performances, but also for its genuine ability to bring music and lifestyle connoisseurs from across the globe to extrapolate, communicate and participate in the independent culture of the Bay Area.

Here are some of our favorite moments from Noise Pop 2015.


Most Likely to Have a Hospital Bill: Ben Gibbard

Gibbard enlisted Sun Kill Moon’s Mark Kozelek to play guitar for him after breaking his wrist before his big opening night performance at the Swedish American Music Hall. We’re still surprised the notorious shit talker (Kozelek) didn’t give Gibbard a harder time about it, considering the last song off Kozelek’s Benji is titled “Ben’s My Friend” and is about how Kozelek went to the Greek Theatre in Berkeley to watch Gibbard play with The Postal Service before proceeding to have a mental breakdown.

Runner-up: PPL MVR

This second-place honor goes to SNWBLL after the band had to cancel its performance at Bottom of the Hill due to some unfortunate bladder issues.


The Black Ryder

Most Likely to Inspire 2015 Festival Fashion: The Black Ryder

Dark, brooding and beautifully tragic. Beyond the torrid love affair story and musical diatribe to accompany the duo of Aimee Nash and Scott Van Ryper, the band embodies its self-proclaimed “Rhinestone Drone” sound into a wicked wardrobe, guaranteed to materialize on the proverbial polo fields across the nation this summer.

Runner-up: Bestie

The Vancouver outfit brought some creativity to the merch table with fun and functional band gear, such as koozies and friendship bracelets, as you can see here via Instagram.

https://instagram.com/p/zjwd2OJ5-G/


Kindness

Most Bar-Raising Performance of the Festival: Kindness

“(Adam) Bainbridge grabbed one audience member’s cell phone out of its hands and filmed himself as well as the crowd with it at one point, elevating the crowd-interaction a notch. He sang from on top of the bar at stage left, walked into the crowd with his mic and made a huge lap while singing to individuals in the audience to end the night.”

Read the full review here.


Dan Deacon

Act Most Likely to Prompt a Mind-Altering Freak Out: Dan Deacon

“Layer upon insane layer of sound interprets into harmonious infectiousness, a feat that hints at an intersection of mathematical and creative genius. The guy takes all sorts of frequencies and cross sections of genre elements and composes it all together into a crescendo of weird, atypical pop. And by weird, I mean the very good kind of weird.”

Read the full review here.


Holly Herndon

Runner-up: Holly Herndon

“People laughed nervously as a slow burn of glitch sounds began to emerge, and before you knew it, her browsing gave way to an interactive, virtual world featuring two-dimensional cutouts of people floating about while strategically-placed cameras around the room recorded and projected images of the crowd, usually catching them unexpectedly on their phones, on two adjacent screens.”

Read the full review here.


Surfer Blood

Most Entertaining Attempt at a Cover Song: Surfer Blood

These guys covered “Hey Sandy” by Polaris, aka the theme song for “The Adventures of Pete & Pete.”

Runner-up: Girrafage‘s rendition of Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA”


Caribou

Most Likely to Be Headlining Future Festivals: Caribou

Absolutely destroying two back-to-back, sold-out nights at The Fillmore, Caribou’s live show is currently on a world tour, hitting all of the largest festival stages in its wake. We unanimously believe that this act will be one of the biggest of 2015 and are keeping our fingers crossed that they will be filling the empty spot in their August tour schedule with a stop at this year’s Outside Lands Music Festival.


Flight Facilities

Runner-up: Flight Facilities

“… to consider booking this lineup on a ‘school night’ at a venue with a max capacity of 1,424 people was a pretty bold call. Subsequently though, it was also one that paid off in easily the largest dance party of the festival.”

Read the full review here.


Les Sins

Most Likely to Break the “Local Music” Barrier: Les Sins

“Intermingling his own material with disco classics, 90’s pop jams and dirty trap beats, Bundick had the crowd on fire and easily could have prolonged the party well into the after hours had there been the option to do so.”

Read the full review here.

Geographer

Runner-up: Geographer

With a doctored lineup and powerful new songwriting approach, Mike Deni has taken full reign of the band’s beloved history of material and is moving forward into bold, uncharted territory — a leap of faith that just might cover the extra ground needed to penetrate a mainstream audience.


The New Pornographers don’t miss a beat in Neko Case’s absence at Fox Theater Oakland

The New PornographersPhotos by Nicole Alfaro // Written by Anthony Presti //

The New Pornographers with How to Dress Well, Nick Diamonds of Islands //
Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland
February 28th, 2015 //

On Saturday night, Canadian supergroup The New Pornographers overtook the Fox Theater as part of the annual Noise Pop Festival. Perhaps with the Vancouver band being one of the most acclaimed acts in this year’s lineup, fans of all ages came out to enjoy the show. Kids were spread throughout the crowd as longtime fans relished the nostalgia of a group that formed in 1999.

The New Pornographers’ seven members took the stage for a cheery and evocative set without one of their key players, Neko Case. They didn’t miss a beat without Case, who has enjoyed success as a solo performer, and have embraced her occasional absences since 2005, bringing in Kathryn Calder to fill the void during live shows. There’s still no denying the star power of Case, who performed with the band at last year’s Treasure Island Music Festival, flashing new tattoos that read “Scorned as Timber” and “Beloved of the Sky” in bold script on each forearm.

But with most supergroups, there’s a challenge of keeping the lineup in tact. Most of these types of groups really only collaborate for an album (Them Crooked Vultures) or have players leave permanently for solo engagements (Broken Social Scene).

The New Pornographers

The core of The New Pornographers, led by main songwriter Carl Newman, was solid and tight. Their sound is unique, mixing elements of 80’s synthpop and 90’s indie-pop rock. It’s almost like if Robin Scherbatsky from the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” became a legitimate pop sensation mentored by Blondie, backed by fellow Canadians Arcade Fire and occasionally joined by a Bob Dylan doppelganger. Their songs are cheery and jubilant, and Newman and Calder sang beautifully succinct harmonies, at times even pulling off four-part harmonies with other members in the band.

The pairing of Calder on keys with multi-instrumentalist Blaine Thurier on synthesizers creates dense layers to their music. Thurier also controlled samples that created subtle, abstract sounds throughout their songs, played the harmonica and even broke out the volatile Melodica, a small handheld keyboard powered by breathing through a connected tube. Dan Bejar, who’s mainly recognized as the frontman for Destroyer, came out for a handful of songs throughout the set.

The New Pornographers

Newman was fairly chatty with the nearly sold-out crowd, at one point mocking Bejar’s slight resemblance to Bob Dylan. “This next song’s called ‘Blowin in the Wind,’” he joked before breaking into “War on the East Coast.” Newman also acknowledged his history with the city, saying “I first came to Oakland in the 90’s, it was a lot different then. I remember thinking, ‘This is the day I’m going to die.’ And then I rose like the Phoenix and started this band.”

And like a testament to his survival, they played a jam-packed set with fan favorites like “Myriad Harbor” and “All the Old Showstoppers” from 2007’s Challengers, “Bill Bruisers” and “Champions of Red Wine” from their latest album Bill Bruisers, “Use It” and the “Bleeding Heart Show” from 2005’s Twin Cinema and even reached all the way back to 2000’s Mass Romantic to play a couple tunes.

The New Pornographers

Setlist:

Brill Bruisers
Myriad Harbor
The Slow Descent into Alcoholism
Moves
War on the East Coast
My Shepard
Use It
Broken Breads
The Laws Have Changed
You Tell Me Where
Testament to Youth in Verse
All the Old Showstoppers
Adventures in Solitude
Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk
Stacked Crooked
Backstairs
Champions of Red Wine
Born With a Sound
Mass Romantic

Encore:

Ballad of a Comeback Kid
Breakin’ the Law
The Bleeding Heart Show

The New Pornographers

The New Pornographers

The New Pornographers

The New Pornographers

Showbams’ Top 50 albums of 2014

Best-albums-2014-coverBy Mike Frash, Josh Herwitt, Molly Kish, Steve Wandrey & Kevin Quandt //

Showbams presents the Top 50 albums released in 2014 (yes, all of 2014) that we just can’t stop listening to.

These are the albums that made us double-take upon first listen, while also being auditory art pieces that we continue to spin as we head into 2015. They are the bundles of songs that innovated and inspired us more than the rest, signifying musical progression, defining our time with a soundtrack that challenges traditional expectations, while boldly trekking into new frontiers of pop music.

Because as music continues to become more accessible, the bridge between independent and mainstream gets shorter each year.

The 25 Best Live Music Acts of 2014
Showbams’ Top 50 Albums of 2014

Listen to The Bam Team’s favorite songs of 2014:


1. Run the JewelsRun the Jewels 2

run-the-jewelsSo often sequels don’t deliver, but ascending hip-hop stars Killer Mike and El-P have simply progressed their brilliance as Run The Jewels one year removed from their first official collaboration. From the top of RTJ2, Michael Render manages to set a higher bar for pumped-up aggression, there’s more social activism laced throughout, more special guests that only add to the fuck boy-crushing populist mentality. And compared to RTJ1, there are more stand-alone gems that are primed for remixing and cultural integration. The sequencing is superb, and El and Mike are having more fun than ever as they tour the world and snowball momentum with their brand of hardcore, yet intricate rap that contains shades of weird. Like a championship baseball team, the songs in the two hole through cleanup hitter offer the biggest impact, wreaking instant classics upon us with masterful experimental production from El-P that emits new, subtle surprises the more you listen. As the album unfolds, tales of police brutality (“Early”), introspection and personal improvement (“Crown”), along with over the top raunch (“Love Again”) prove RTJ2 shines in every moment in a variety of ways through multiple lanes of success. -Mike Frash


2. The War on DrugsLost in the Dream

war-on-drugs-lost-in-dream-album-coverWhen a truly inspired artist borrows from the past while looking to the future, the outcome can be something fully new and exciting, which is what we have here. The brilliance of Adam Granduciel lies in his delivery, both musically and lyrically, crooning about the sometimes-not-so-simple intricacies of existence. Life, love and everything else in between can be tricky, yet Granduciel calmly assures us that things can work out.

Granduciel knows how to structure albums with the best of them — this acutely demonstrated via the nine-minute, sprawling opener “Under the Pressure”. First single “Red Eyes” keeps on a similar path as we sink deeper in, bobbing along to the pounding drum machine that has been a constant over the years for the Philly-based band. “Disappearing” takes us soaring above the clouds as we hear new, thrilling piano instrumentation with warm bass lines, creating a sense of weightlessness and flight. An extremely strong finishing track, “In Reverse” perfectly captures the fleeting minutes on this release before jarring us back into a slightly crueler reality. The long play of this record is so rewarding, and it grows with hopes that more can be brought into the light. Oh, and that the state rock ‘n’ roll is just fine. -Kevin Quandt


3. D’Angelo and the VanguardBlack Messiah

dangelo-black-messiahThere’s an intentional off-kilter spontaneity and cohesive force at the center of D’Angelo’s first album in 15 years, Black Messiah. The percussive and vocal syncopation here makes the off-beat feel natural — layered vocals get treated with filters and are multi-tracked to lend an unfamiliar presence to the back-and-forth vocal pitch shifts D’Angelo employs from line to line.

The end product is a record that possesses its own musical language, telling stories that are incredibly meaningful, but achieve balance between serious and playful, while always being sexy. The confusing, driving funk of the first two cuts give way to “The Charade”, which manages to hit a rare aural sweat spot of ultra-pleasurability. But then “Sugah Daddy” follows as an unplanned Sunday in the park, with vocal scats skipping along to the breezy song’s pacing. D’Angelo arguably can now join the ranks of the all-time great R&B/soul artists with the delivery of his long-awaited third record. -MF


4. Future IslandsSingles

Future IslandSingles jumps right out of the gates, showing its cards early, presenting the listener with Future Island’s trademark new-school, new-wave sound. Samuel Herring’s vocals are stunning as he pitches and growls through tales of the tougher side of love. It’s pretty, gripping and powerful while also holding certain pop sentiments, lending to an overall lightness while being arresting. “Seasons (Waiting On You)” is a quintessential slice of the emotion this band has become well known for both onstage and in the studio. “Doves” balances all the elements nicely, shining a light on the top-notch production featured on Singles. -KQ


5. Aphex TwinSyro

FINAL MASTER SYRO DIGIPAK.inddRichard D. James has been practically an enigma for the last decade plus, hiding out in a small Scottish village of 300 and releasing no new music as Aphex Twin since 2006. But the long layoff hasn’t changed the fact that he remains one of the most unique and influential electronic producers in the game today. Some of James’ best material on Syro comes early on, from his club-oriented mixes like “minipops 67 [120.2]” to the techno funk ­he crafts on the ensuing “XMAS_EVET10 [120]” and “produk 29 [101].” These aren’t beats designed to make you sweat your ass off — if anything, the cerebral nature of James’ work makes him the ultimate antithesis of the current EDM scene. -Josh Herwitt


6. Flying LotusYou’re Dead!

Flylo_youre_deadOn Flying Lotus’s latest record You’re Dead!, the Los Angeles producer forgoes the acid kool-aide test for a cyanide kool-aide dive straight into a fourth dimensional confrontation with the afterlife. You’re Dead masterfully trips through the journey of the soul into the next episode with sun-scorched psychedelia, 8-bit snapshots of g-funk and gorgeously redemptive jazz. The cold transition between the frantic jazz freak out of Kendrick Lamar featuring “Never Catch Me” and the cooled-out West Coast bounce of Snoop Dogg and FlyLo alter-ego Captain Murphy’s “Dead Man’s Tetris” highlights the producer’s prolific ability to craft varying hip-hop textures. FlyLo fully buries his new album’s death aesthetic through ecstatic, free-form layers of acid jazz and sprawling EDM planes of sound. -John Venanzi, Community Review


7. St. VincentSt. Vincent

St. VincentAnnie Clark ups the electronic ante on her fourth studio album. Branching out of her experimental indie-pop compositions, she embraces more cohesive arrangements that ironically focus her creativity on deconstructed production and sound obstruction. Both equally impressive in sound quality and sass, the opening tracks “Rattlesnake” and “Birth in Reverse” set the tone for the rest of the records’ exciting stylistic shifts and the intriguing unveiling of Clark’s gritty rock goddess persona. “Digital Witness” is a spot-on snapshot of our brave new 21st century day-to-day reality. Unapologetic, raw and sonically genius, St. Vincent is Clark’s breakthrough moment, and she appears to be doing it all with ease. -Molly Kish


8. Mac DeMarcoSalad Days

Mac DemarcoMac DeMarco’s signature style is here. It’s still fresh and in ways stronger than ever; it’s more pointed, focused and accessible. DeMarco is able to write in a way that allows the listener to easily empathize with him, as he turns his issues into ones that most of us have dealt with at some point. In “Chamber of Reflection”, it’s easy to really feel a sense of solitude. “Goodbye Weekend” sounds like a stoney Sunday afternoon coming to a soothing end. Every track has a personality of its own while holding up the overall ethos of the album. This album is lighthearted enough for multiples listens in a row with its breezy beach vibe, but also easily induces deep thoughts with its many lyrical gems. -Steve Wandrey


9. CaribouOur Love

our-loveWhat we have here is one of the most addictive albums of 2014. Our Love keeps deep house in its front pocket with steady beats per minute and an introspective mantra-centric lyrical conceit, but it’s also exploratory in nature, finding success in consistently building toward intense, euphoric plateaus. A steady flow of pleasant sounds ascend into impacting transcendence with “Can’t Do Without You”, “Silver” and “Your Love Will Set You Free”, and you must give Snaith extra credit for the masterful pacing and song-to-song flow — there is never a “skip ahead” moment. Like many classic albums, it opens up if you give it more time to radiate around your head, and listening to it becomes more pleasurable over time, even though it is mostly presented in poetic simplicity. -MF


10. Sun Kil MoonBenji

Sun Kil MoonBenji must be interpreted as a concept album about death, but more importantly, it’s about the importance details related to memory. For example, the title is taken from what seems like a throw-away line toward the end of the breathtaking “Micheline”. It’s powerful, visceral storytelling that is self-reflexive and biographical, yet so relatable that it compels personal introspection from the listener’s own experiences. Mark Kozelek’s lyrics are the centerpiece of the listening experience — they are so deep and resonant that the instrumentals and production are absorbed secondarily, although the stripped-down approach is intentional and noteworthy. Built around obsessing about the state of human demise — and the randomness of it — it’s easy to join Kozelek’s dire state of mind hours or days after listening. -MF


11. Todd Terje – It’s Album Time
12. Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams
13. Sharon Van Etten – Are We There
14. Spoon – They Want My Soul
15. Ariel Pink – pom pom
16. Beck – Morning Phase
17. Jack White – Lazaretto
18. The Black Keys – Turn Blue
19. Tycho — Awake
20. TV on the Radio – Seeds

21. Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
22. Tweedy – Sukierae
23. Jungle – Jungle
24. Temples – Sun Structures
25. tUnE-yArDs – Nikki Nack
26. Death from Above 1979 – The Physical World
27. Ty Segall – Manipulator
28. The Antlers – Familiars
29. Real Estate – Atlas
30. Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness

31. Cold War Kids – Hold My Home
32. Interpol – El Pintor
33. Alt-J – This Is All Yours
34. Swans – To Be Kind
35. Strand of Oaks – HEAL
36. White Fence – For the Recently Found Innocent
37. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Piñata
38. Phantogram – Voices
39. Broken Bells – After the Disco
40. SOHN – Tremors

41. The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers
42. Thom Yorke – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes
43. Karen O — Crush Songs
44. Chet Faker – Built on Glass
45. Woods – With Light and with Love
46. Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere Else
47. Kishi Bashi – Lighght
48. Mark McGuire – Along The Way
49. Courtney Barnett – The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas
50. Adult Jazz – Gist Is

Run-the-Jewels4

The-War-on-Drugs5

10.future-islands

4.st-vincent

12.Ryan Adams

Sharon-Van-Etten_post

Spoon

Tycho

TVOTR

Temples

8.tune-yards

Real-Estate

Interpol

alt-J

The best of Treasure Island Music Festival 2014

TIMF2014_postPhotos by Marc Fong // Written by Mike Frash //

Treasure Island Music Festival //
Treasure Island – San Francisco
October 18th-19th, 2014 //

Treasure Island Music Festival 2014 will be remembered for its triumphant headliners along with its embrace of minimalist, finger-snapping electro-pop. Some of the performing acts that have blown up over the past year or so — including Jungle, Zedd, BANKS and Chet Faker — offered relatively tame performances, struggling to elevate their live music experiences. But many other acts gave inspired, breathtaking or insanely fun sets.

Here’s our best (and worst) of TIMF 2014.

Kaleidascope


Massive-Attack

Show of the Weekend: Massive Attack

Massive-Attack2With perhaps the most appropriate name for musical act on the planet, Massive Attack capped Treasure Island Music Festival 2014 in stunning fashion. With a balancing act of bass-infused downtempo brilliance highlighted by Martina Topley-Bird’s singing and industrialized synth-stabbing electronic pieces, a range of emotion is achieved for the listener. With contrasting tempos and a duality of tranquility then intensity, a cause-and-effect narrative starts to take shape — especially when paying attention to the video elements of the intense songs. “United Snakes” left nothing to the imagination with its barrage of corporate logos and national flags. It appeared the expanded duo slipped in one frame of a Ferris wheel, reminding us that yes, us consumers at TIMF, the only U.S. festival Massive Attack played on this tour, are part of the system. “Future Proof” visuals stripped out rows of zeroes and ones, using the simplicity of computer code to inspire multiple paths of thought, especially while absorbing this show in the Bay Area. And Tunde Adebimpe from TV On The Radio joined in for “Pray For Rain” for the grand finale.


OutKast-Big-Boi

Biggest Bay Area Party of the Year: OutKast

OutKast-DreIt’s almost the end of the biggest reunion tour in decades, and TIMF patrons were lucky enough to witness one of OutKast’s last shows. The Bridge Stage was more packed in than any show in memory, and festivalgoers outwardly had more fun compared to performances from past years. The set was perfectly paced, with André 3000 seemingly having a fun time — an important part of the equation compared to Big Boi’s rock-steady appearances throughout 2014. The guys gave shout-outs to Casual and The Misfits in the “local love” part of the show, and “Roses” (including a half-hearted apology for the “crazy bitch” outro) once again was one of the highlights. The set ended at least 20 minutes before the scheduled end of the day, emptying a large percentage of patrons into the shuttle line at the same time — there were some reports of people not making it back to SF until 2 a.m.


alt-J

Most Likely to Headline Festivals Very Soon: alt-J

alt-J is no longer a band on the rise, but one of the biggest bands in the world with this just-launched tour in support of the group’s second LP. This hour-long set at TIMF seemed like a coronation of sorts as it was the first festival set the now-quartet has played with new material. The highlights from An Awesome Wave still act as the backbone of the set while the best cuts from This Is All Yours were cherry-picked and sprinkled in perfectly to enhance their already-inspiring live show. “Hunger of the Pine” got things going while “Left Hand Free” worked well, getting away from the heady elements for a bit. “Dissolve Me” into “Matilda” is still so incredibly beautiful and emotive — alt-J should never break these two songs up. “Every Other Freckle” is the one song where I wish the guys would have considered new lyrics, but it’s a small complaint for a concert experience that had a huge crowd rapturously involved. When music implores a festival audience to be fully invested as alt-J pulled off on Sunday, with no one talking during the quiet intimate parts, it becomes clear you are ingesting something special. Even though their rise in popularity has happened remarkably fast, that trend should continue to move upward through festival season next year.


Classixx

Most TIMF Set of the Weekend: Classixx

On paper, Classixx is the ideal act for Treasure Island Music Festival 2014, and the duo delivered on this promise in the all-important sunset time slot. Restrained but upbeat enough, pop-oriented yet progressive in its sound, the LA-based remixers-turned-original producers brought Saturday together based on what we expect from past TIMF years. Their on-stage centerpiece, a modern take on a 1980’s-era television, visualizes Nancy Whang for “All You’re Waiting For” and YACHT’s Claire L. Evans for a remix of “Psychic City”. The television set offers a surreal scene juxtaposed with the backgrounded City skyline, functionally helping to break down the walls of disembodied vocals.


TVOTR

Best New Material: TV On The Radio

TVOTR2TVOTR gave one of the best sets of the weekend with their wonderful mix of slow burners, dance-punk blasts of energy along with three new songs: “Happy Idiot”, “Careful You” and “Could You”. The latter two were particularly impressive and fit perfectly into the band’s catalog. A couple other notes on the show: producer and multi-instrumentalist David Sitek now looks like Bono, Kyp Malone is still professionally chill and Tunde Adebimpe continues to be offended when listeners don’t give him full attention. After completing “Wolf Like Me”, wherein the TI faithful went nuts, the lead singer said that he couldn’t believe he saw someone leave during the song. Agreed Tunde, and we’re looking forward to the forthcoming record.


Janell-Monae

Best Recovery: Janelle Monáe

What’s exactly the point of sound checking a microphone if you’re not going to do it completely? The guy setting up the mic put it on the stand after unsuccessfully getting it to work, and Monáe sang the first song completely unaware her voice wasn’t projecting through the speakers. After some crowd chanting, a new microphone, and three different people near me saying “Why doesn’t she use the backup singer’s mic?” order was finally restored. Also, when we got “Tightrope”, all hope of seeing Monáe join mentor Big Boi during OutKast was shot. Still, there’s no doubt the Electric Lady is just beginning a long and illustrious career. And as she proved with “Cold War”, it’s damn near impossible to take your eyes or ears off her when it’s her time to shine.


Bill-Murray

Best Pop-Culture Friend-Finder: Bill Murray

Bill Murray is clearly the most important American pop culture icon, and this group knows it. They also had a high-flying Bill Murray flag to triangulate positions.


Ana-Tijoux

Best Festival Outlier: Ana Tijoux

French-Chilean MC and singer-songwriter Ana Tijoux brought the best change of pace on Saturday, something apparent from the beginning of “Vengo”. Upbeat and passionate fire-spitting about social injustice with electronic elements and a horn section? Yes please — this was perhaps the only set on the dance-oriented first day without finger snapping or words in English.


Washed-Out

Most TIMF Set of the Weekend Part 2: Washed Out

It’s impressive how Ernest Greene has evolved Washed Out from bedroom project to leader of the chill-wave movement to a live performer that can mimic the energy of a dance show through instrumentation. Like Classixx, this one just felt right for TIMF.


Polica

Most Immersive Set: Poliça

Sultry. Intensely Moody. World music-infused. These are the words I wrote down before being completely drawn into this set. Once awakening after completing locking in to a couple songs, I opted to get to alt-J early for a good spot. It was a tough call since Poliça were thoroughly captivating — I’ll be looking to see them again soon.


Mo

Best Unintentional Festival Blending:

MØ emerged on stage sporting a black eye-patch, seemingly joining in on the pirate theme that has defined TIMF over the years. But after a song, Karen Marie Ørsted needlessly admitted to an eye infection, even though the optical accessory worked well with her braid and masculine power stances. MØ stood above the other new minimalist-glitch offerings on display at TIMF 2014 with her authentic energy, ownership of the stage and video support. Mixing oddly-appealing archival footage on loop, including a small animal’s still-beating heart in the palm of a hand, with imagery of herself working background vocals, made this electropop highlight even more memorable.


White-Denim

Band that Deserves More Listeners: White Denim

It’s a shame White Denim couldn’t be featured later in the day for more festivalgoers on Sunday. The seemingly spastic song structures and prog-rock mentality make White Denim a group to add to that list of bands you try to see perform live when they come to town.


The-New-Pornographers

Set that Thinned Out the Most: The New Pornographers

Along with the TIMF headliners, The New Pornographers have the most seniority out of all TIMF acts. Cuts from their underestimated 2014 record Brill Bruisers created the backbone of the set with fan favorites laced in throughout. Songs led by Destroyer’s Dan Bejar, with their skewered and self-inflicting lyrics, resonated strongest. This show thinned out as the set went on while most younger festivalgoers were queuing up for Chet Faker, signifying the current state of indie music popularity. Sadly, the eight members of the group walked off stage to nary an audible clap.


Silent-Disco

Best Constant Dance Party: Silent Disco

With no overlapping sets, Silent Disco is always an option if you want house music instead of the provided musicians on stage.


BANKS

Best Pop-Culture Friend-Finder 2: Kim Kardashian with Laser Beam Eyes at BANKS

BANKS kind of sums up the direction indie-turned-pop music has gone in 2014. Sleek bare-bones production, glitch elements and moody synth lay the ground work for whispery vocals. This aural cocktail has captured the collective zeitgeist (along with much of the TIMF curation) this year. Jillian Banks has an immaculate voice and is mega popular worldwide, but her set felt like more of the same. BANKS banned media photography for her TIMF set, so here’s a photo of one of the best location markers of the weekend: Kim Kardashian with laser beams coming out of her eyes.


The-Growlers

Most Entertaining Hype Man: The Growlers

Weirdo garage rock! The Growlers almost didn’t make their set according to the introduction given by the group’s eccentric hype-man named DMTina. But the psych-goth surf rock was pleasant enough, with “Chinese Fountain” giving a fun tone to the afternoon, but the dude in the robe pretty much stole the show.


St.-Lucia

Most Shiny Electro-Pop of the Weekend: St. Lucia

I have to be honest, St. Lucia is a bit too shiny and synth-heavy for me, but damn do they give it their all. If you’re into the nu-disco pop revival, St. Lucia is for you. OutKast was a priority, though.


Jungle

Most Surface-Level Fun: Jungle

Churning soul-disco mystery collective Jungle is a more well-known entity now, and the skyrocketing, UK-based outfit adeptly loops morsels of pleasurable phrasing as a house DJ would. But it all sounds the same. And given their debut record, I expected many similarities from song to song but still hoped for something more out of their live interpretations. Jungle is generic to the point of being an emotional blank slate, tofu without any other tastes involved. But there’s no better time than now to get involved in some Giants pandering — the “Let’s Go Giants” chant sparked by Josh Lloyd-Watson’s jersey and reference to SF’s World Series-bound team was one of the biggest crowd responses of the set.


Robot-Dance-Party

Best Mobile Dance Party: Robot Dance Party

Robot Dance Party can’t stop, won’t stop.


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Most Unlikely Show with People on Shoulders: Chet Faker

Chet-FakerChet Faker had the crew bring out a huge bass speaker to put directly behind him after his first song to give his music more oomph. And when he dipped into his career-making collaborations with Flume, “Left Alone” and “Drop the Game”, the Tunnel stage instantly began moving like the rhythm of the ocean. But otherwise, the set was downtempo to the point of boredom. And it’s not a good idea to take one of your best songs, “Talk is Cheap”, and strip it down even more. Some ladies still felt compelled to rock their friend’s shoulders as if it was a dance show, something that I’m still trying to figure out.


Zedd

Biggest Spectacle Over Substance: Zedd

More than any other set at TIMF 2014, Zedd felt out of place. By this point on Saturday, the fest needed a jump of adrenaline, but the Top 40 producer wasn’t the solution. Where acts like Knife Party or Bassnectar would have fallen more in line with the traditional ethos of TIMF, Zedd brought his world of contemporary pop to the island. There was no layering or transitions, his drops didn’t stand out from the EDM pack, and the show lacked any memorable surprises.

What were your favorite sets of Treasure Island Music Festival 2014?

17 reasons to rage in the bay at Treasure Island Fest 2014

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Photos by Marc Fong // Written by Mike Frash, Molly Kish, Kevin Quandt and Marc Fong //

Treasure Island Music Festival //
Treasure Island – San Francisco
October 18th-19th, 2014 //

The Festival in the Bay returns this weekend with its progressive mix of indie rock, electronic/dance, hip-hop and (now) soul. Treasure Island Music Festival is always adept at curating under-card acts that are in the process of emerging into collective consciousness while crowning the bill with well-known musical entities that most independent-minded music fans will enjoy.

View the full schedule. Tickets are still available (for now), and you can buy them here.

Here are 17 reasons why you should rage in the Bay at TIMF this weekend.

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BONUS CONTEST: Enter below to rock The Bold Italic’s party boat to & from TIMF for FREE!

17. Not familiar with every act on the bill? Well, that’s half the fun at these contemporary music festivals, as your next favorite band is just waiting to be discovered.

16. Discover why Janelle Monáe is a headliner of the (very near) future. She’ll likely join OutKast as well, more specifically Big Boi, for their collaboration “Tightrope”. This treat was only viewed by a handful of crowds on the reunion tour, including during Coachella Weekend 1 and at OutKast’s hometown spectacular in Atlanta last month.

15. Jean-Philip Grobler and company put on breathtaking performances as St. Lucia. The Brooklyn-based band has a familiar electro sound, but simultaneously has a playfulness that will wonderfully fit with the TIMF crowd.

14. Stumbling across the Silent Disco, tucked away in the eastern corner of the festival ground, can be a surreal experience. Filled with festival crowds of anywhere between 20-200 people, this TIMF staple allows DJs to perform through Wi-Fi-enabled headphones that are passed out to festivalgoers as they enter the designated dance space.

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13. Poliça is must-see music at TIMF. Their dark synth will fit ideally with the setting of the music-infused October sun. Channy Leaneagh’s haunting vocals are fantastic live and are not to be missed. Get close for this one.

12. Carl Newman’s outfit The New Pornographers can easily be classified as a supergroup — Destroyer’s Dan Bejar and the lovely Neko Case heavily contributed to their wonderful 2014 album Brill Bruisers — and you can watch them all perform in the flesh at TIMF.

11. TIMF is one of the most unique festival locations around, and it gives way to even more creative ways to get on and off the island. TIMF offers an extremely convenient and free shuttle service between the island and a main point of transit at the City’s Civic Center. Or you could book a party bus or ride The Bold Italic’s party boat! (Enter below to win free tickets to Rock The Boat)

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10. One of our favorites, White Denim, will take to the Bridge Stage early on Sunday for their mind­-melting prog rock. Along with Cathedrals, Bleached and Ásgeir, there are lots of musical reasons to get to the island early on Day 2.

9. We finally get the return of the UK-­based, modern ­funk collective that goes by the wild name of Jungle. Bursting from the seams a few months ago, these guys have taken the festival circuit by storm, igniting stages and crowds with an incendiary stage presence coupled with devastatingly catchy tracks off their debut LP. Dancing shoes? CHECK!

8. Ana Tijoux isn’t super popular yet in Northern California, and her lyrics are in Spanish, but none of that matters. Her MC skills are impacting, and her production straddles multiple genres, including hip-hop and soul. Expect this to be a standout performance on Saturday.

7. Convenience is key when it comes to keeping festival crowds satisfied, and TIMF spares no expense in that matter. Easy navigation between stages, ample access to bathrooms, food/beverage vendors and helpful on-site staff members work together to elevate the flow of the festival experience.

6. It’s been a while since the Bay Area has seen TV On The Radio, and hopefully these gritty indie rock geniuses will play some tracks off their upcoming album Seeds. TVOTR has no better place than TIMF to give us a taste of things to come.

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5. This will be alt-­J‘s first performance in the area in support of their second album, and we’re sure to hear all the exciting new songs off of This Is All Yours (Read our community review here). Ready to sing some Miley samples?

4. Landing Massive Attack to headline Sunday is a mondo feat for Noise Pop and APE Entertainment — 3D and Daddy G will playing their only 2014 U.S. festival at TIMF (and only two other shows in the U.S. this year). The electronic duo might normally be a Saturday headliner, but we get to finalize an action-packed Sunday with these influential trip-hop legends.

3. No set conflicts means no stress, no making tough festival decisions and no missing out on an act you love. You get to see everything.

2. The “Summer of OutKast” is coming to a close as Bay Area fans will bear witness to what is expected to be their third-­to­-last performance ever. Did ya hear us on that one? Big Boi and Dre have pretty clearly stated that this is it, so there’s little reason for any fan to miss this banner, headlining performance.

1. It’s on an island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. ‘Nuff said.


Win-2-Tickets

ROCK THE BOAT TICKET CONTEST

For the 2014 installment of Rock the Boat, our friends at The Bold Italic have teamed up with Hornblower Cruises & Events to rent out the San Francisco Spirit luxury yacht, equipped with a full bar and live entertainment provided by premiere Bay Area DJs to get you to and from TIMF like a boss. For a full lineup and more details on the trip, click here and enter below for your chance to win a weekend pass aboard the party boat courtesy of Showbams.

Fill out your full name and email address below.
Contest ends Thursday at 4 p.m. The winner will be picked at random and notified by email on Thursday. Your email will be kept private –- we will share your email with no one.

Like Showbams on Facebook and follow Showbams on Twitter to be eligible to win.

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Treasure Island 2014 trends toward indie dance-pop

Treasure Island Music Festival

Treasure Island Music Festival //
Treasure Island, CA
October 18-19, 2014 //

Dance-oriented pop is taking over music festival curation, while rock is beginning to die a slow death when it comes to Bay Area festival lineups. Overall, this appears to be the trend for Treasure Island Music Festival in the San Francisco Bay.

While the daily lineups haven’t been announced yet, the upbeat dance acts for Saturday and the rock-oriented Sunday performers were easy to divvy up at this point in past years. It appears this line has been blurred significantly. Sure alt-J, TV On The Radio, The New Pornographers, White Denim and The Growlers seem like solid bets for the traditional day of rest, if past years hold true, but who will headline Sunday between OutKast and Massive Attack? Rap acts have always seen the stage on Saturday, so we’re thinking OutKast is a lock for Saturday.

And speaking of the first rap headliner in Treasure Island Music Festival history, San Francisco proper will get a visit from the ATLiens after their highly successful headline set in Napa a few weeks back. Since catching their stride, 3 Stacks and Big Boi have been murdering large crowds across the globe with a mix of hits, old favorites and a smattering of solo material. So, go re-learn the “Roses” dance for what is sure to be the peak of energy on the island. Also with Janelle Monáe on the bill, expect at least one special guest appearance for the Big-Boi produced “Tightrope”.

READ OUR REPORT FROM TIMF 2013

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2014 breakout acts Jungle, Banks and Chet Faker, all of whom recently played sold out shows at the Independent in SF, are remarkably high on the bill, but odds are they will be in the perfect slot come October. If you haven’t heard of Jungle yet, they performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night and crushed it. Emerging acts that can catalyze ticket sales are an increasingly important premium when curating a festival lineup, hence Jungle & Banks’ mid-to-upper lineup position.

Female acts are never appropriately represented based on the statistical division of sexes at a festival, but TIMF has done a great job of lessoning the gap this year. Janelle Monáe, The New Pornographers, St. Lucia, Banks, Jungle, MØ, Poliça and more will be at the Festival on the Bay come October.

alt-J played at Bottom of the Hill in December 2012, and here they are as a prime sub-headliner. The response to the recent announcement of their second album and tour behind it shows that this makes sense.

The New Pornographers also announced a brand new album recently, and they’ll be returning to the bay via TIMF with original members Neko Case and Dan Bejar from Destroyer.

There may be less rock in the vein of Interpol, The Strokes and Parquet Courts than past years, but there is no doubt this lineup is loaded with fun, upbeat acts. What are you most excited to see at TIMF 2014?

2-Day GA, VIP tickets and Parking Passes On Sale Thursday, June 19th at 10AM PT!

OutKast
Massive Attack
Zedd
alt-J
TV On the Radio
Janelle Monáe
The New Pornographers
Washed Out
St. Lucia
Banks
Jungle
White Denim

Poliça
The Growlers
Classixx
Chet Faker
Ryan Hemsworth
Ana Tijoux
Asgeir
Xxyyxx
Ratking
Tobacco
Bleached
Painted Palms
Waters

Treasure Island Music Festival Scene