On the second day and final year of Treasure Island taking place on the actual Treasure Island—this marked the ten year anniversary, and the festival will be moving off the island after this weekend—artists ranging from pop, metal, dance and ambient closed out the memorable weekend. While there were only a handful of people in attendance during the early afternoon, as the rain and winds subsided, crowds grew and the intensity of the performances increased.
“Sorry we’re wet,” could have been the slogan for the entire weekend, which was Madrid-based band Hinds’ apology to their crowd. They were one of the first bands to kick off the second day of the festival, and gave an underrated performance indicative of a band that will surely be a big name in the future. They channeled the frenetic vibrancy of The Slits and the best aspects of their Riot Grrrl forebearers.
Wild Nothing was the first band of the weekend to play with the sun out, as brief as that was. They brought their best indie pop game, complete with fuzzy guitar pedals and keyboards reminiscent of Simple Minds. While they played to a sparse crowd, what they lacked in numbers they made up for with enthusiasm.
Just as quickly as the sun appeared it, it became shrouded in dark clouds, and Car Seat Headrest took the stage. Prompted by bandleader Will Toledo’s vocals and upbeat instrumentals, they managed to whip the crowd into a very small, but muddy mosh pit. Their Modern Lovers-esque sound and fervor proved to be a huge hit and left the crowd complaining about how short their set was.
One of the best performances of the day and the weekend was Christine and the Queens. At 2:50, the sun materialized from out of the clouds and Christine and the Queens emerged from behind monitors that were covered in garbage bags. She held the audience in the palm of her hand and told them that while they there they had “45 minutes of pure freedom;” the freedom to be whoever they wanted to be. She switched effortlessly between singing in English and French and took on personas of young boys because if only because that’s what she felt like in that moment. She sang the song “Tilted” and had dance moves that seemed inspired by Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Her performance, whether due to her facial expressions or the choreography or the stories that she told, kept the audience hypnotized with her sincerity and theatrics.
Switching genres completely, San Francisco based metal band Deafheaven played on the Tunnel stage. As they put it, they were the “odd guys out,” and the crowd stood in disbelief as they played. By the end, however, most listeners had converted, even though their ears were still ringing.
If there was an award for the densest population of young, cool people, that award would go to the crowd at the Mac DeMarco set. Smoking a cigarette, he walked out on stage and opened with the song “Salad Days.” His performance was part music, part stand up comedy routine between him and his guitarist. Toward the end of his set, he invited several members from Wild Nothing out onto the stage to crowd surf. They obliged, and his set ended with “Still Together” and the overwhelming feeling of happiness and satisfaction.
The next two acts brought the mood to a totally new place, with Neon Indian’s psychedelic, dance pop and Tycho’s ambient electronica. San Francisco based musician, DJ and design artist Scott Hansen from Tycho brought a much-needed chill-out performance that allowed for listeners to zone out and find peace within the chaos. He played a new song, titled, “Source” which was paired with images of the Grand Canyon and rippling sand dunes.
Sylvan Esso was another group that played one of the best sets of the day. They opened with their song “Dreamy Bruises” and the crowd erupted into dancing. They played a handful of new songs from their forthcoming record, which has yet to be titled, and if their performance was any indication, the album will be just as dancy as the first. Throughout the set, people held up large inflated jellyfish on poles and danced through the crowd. People threw glowsticks and girls sat on shoulders as they danced passionately. This performance felt like it was half rave and half house party. It had all the craziness that a rave in a warehouse would have, but with the added intimacy of a house party. Maybe it was Amelia Meath’s dancing or her crystal clear vocals, but when she performed, there was a clear connection between her and the audience, and that connection spread throughout.
During the last song by Sylvan Esso, the rain and wind picked up and due to weather issues, James Blake’s set was cancelled. During that hour, though, Tycho came to the aid of disappointed fans and played a surprise DJ set.
After another delay, Purity Ring was slated to perform during a later timeslot, taking the stage at 9:20pm. Under dozens of strung up lights, lead singer Megan James bobbed in and out, much like a kelp forest that ebbed and flowed along to the beats of the music. Her girlish voice echoed out over the grounds as fierce bass thumped furiously. They ended their set after a solid 50 minutes, before the crowd migrated toward the Bridge stage where Sigur Ros would close out the festival.
Also running behind schedule, Sigur Ros did not come out onto the stage until 10:40pm. The crowd had begun to grow weary, but all of their exhaustion would quickly dissipate as soon as they walked out onto the stage. Sigur Ros played the most beautifully haunting set and there could not have been a better group to end to the festival than them. Most of their songs follow a template they popularized, beginning as quiet, moody tracks, before exploding into a cacophony of sound and emotion. One song that stood out was “Saeglopur.” The emotion that each musician pours into their performance with bandleader Jonsi Birgisson especially, is noticeable on stage. Everything they do seems organic and unplanned. When Jonsi walked away from the mic and screamed out into the crowd, or at the end of their set, throwing down his guitar and kicking over a monitor, these acts came off as spontaneous and energetic, and a genuine emotional response to the music. As a listener, it’s impossible to also not have an emotional response. Whether it’s their visuals or the music itself, there is something about their performance that leaves a concertgoer pining for more.
Despite all of the rain and wind, the weather did not deter festivalgoers or performers. If there was one theme to the entire weekend it was graciousness. All of the artists that came out thanked the audience multiple times for mustering through to see their sets. That graciousness translated into all of the performances and the sincerity of each performer was obvious throughout the course of the weekend. When Sigur Ros finished, and the weekend came to a close, a wave of contentment gently settled over the mud smothered crowd and the sound of teeth chattering and feet dragging along the pavement proved that although this was the last year Treasure Island, it was an experience nobody would forget.