Treasure Island Festival took over the Bay island between San Francisco and Oakland this weekend. Hot weather and plenty of sun made for a beautiful first day. Here's a recap of Saturday at Treasure Island Festival 2014. Check out our Sunday recap and photo album as well.
Painted Palms: Opening to a shallow but eager crowd, Painted Palms kicked off Treasure Island with an early noon set on Saturday. The San Francisco based quartet acknowledged their Bay roots with a shout out to the Giants before diving in. They shared material off their Forever album, released in January on Polyvinyl. Heavy, tweaked synths dominated the stage, with strokes of guitar peppered in. Their bright, psychedelic, new wave jams had plenty of reverb and delay, but were lively and beat driven enough to amp up the crowd without overwhelming any potential hangovers. Their tunes built and built before crashing into choruses and I think they easily could’ve held down a later spot in the festival. Regardless, Painted Palms made for an excellent start.
Xxyyxx: Marcel Everett sleepily, yet excitedly took the Tunnel Stage, during the sunny, hot, midday hours as SF glistening in the background. Right away, he let us know the he would be debuting a fair share of new stuff. That “new stuff” ended up being very solid and more upbeat then some of his older work beats. While the production sounded excellent, he didn't have much stage presence and this particular genre would've benefitted from a late night atmosphere. Obviously Marcel didn’t control that, but it was still a quality set.
Mø: Prepped for toasty weather better than most of us, Mø emerged on stage with a black skirt & sport top. She also donned an eye patch but quickly shared "I know it looks like a bad joke, but I got a serious eye infection yesterday". Her dual drummers (one regular kit, one electronic) and guitarist let loose from there. They laid down very rhythmic grooves, almost Latin at times. She was more than at home on the big stage midday afternoon crowd. From fist pumps to singing to the heavens on her knees to bending over while beckoning to the crowd, she was arguably the most animated performer of Saturday. They alternated from bass jams with a dancing crowd to patient slow burning ballads showcasing her vocal talent and more nuanced side. Mø was tight, crisp and sharp. Randomly, she reminded me of a Marina and the Diamonds’ show I saw in 2010.
Jungle: The UK neo-soul band came out with 7 people, including dual drummers and aux percussion. They started up with "Platoon", and the collective groove machine was running like a midnight jaguar slinking forward gracefully. They got the crowd involved right away and held us in for what made one of the most fun sets of the weekend. Their vocal vibrato underwater filter for falsettos were a bit overused. Seems that would be best used sparingly. They have decent voices, so it felt a bit gimmicky. Their lyrical delivery and crowd banter got washed away in those effects sometimes. But it was still a grooving set. Sidenote: the lead singer yelled "TREH-SHIRE EYE-LIN!" at least 12 times. As someone next to me noted, "well, at least he knows where he's at".
Janelle Monae: As the hype man introduced Janelle, the mic only ran in the on-stage monitors, which obviously made it hard to hear. Janelle was wheeled out on hard truck as her band revved up and readied. But as she began it was clear her hype man's mic dilemma extended to her own vocals. You couldn't hear any of her singing. Just her backing band and backing vocals. Everybody but Janelle Monae seemed to realize this, as she had no idea. It was odd to watch her go full out on vocals with 0 volume. She got to second song as the whole crowd was pointing and yelling eventually chanting "TURN-IT-UP!" before the sound crew finally addressed the issue. After that, her vox were too hot relative to the band, which is a bummer because they're very talented as we obviously heard on the first two tracks. They improved the sound a bit as Janelle went into "Electric Lady". The crowd joined in with a call and response. Then Janelle covered James Browns "I Feel Good" before dedicating "Primetime" to all the lovers. Despite the early sound issues, she geared it up into the set-closing "Tightrope" as the sun set.
OutKast: The long-awaited Bay Area stop of OutKast's reunion tour finally arrived at Tresure Island Saturday night. Despite mixed show reviews and André 3000 saying he doesn't get anything out of performing anymore, there was a packed house. A "Seven Nation Army" remix intro played before André and Big Boi burst out with "Bombs Over Baghdad". The impressive live horns and guitar section immediately pumped out the energy and Big Boi brought it with his first verse as Andrew paced around posing for pics with side-stage members in his "Have You Stopped Growing?" black jumpsuit. While OutKast was most definitely on their game, I couldn't help but remember earlier reviews of reunion shows as André rapped side-stage or paced at the back while Big Boi rapped.
They went through "Rosa Parks" as the crowd sang along before acknowledging it had been 20 years since they dropped "Player's Ball". "They thought we were from Oakland. KMEL was the first station to play us," André told us before asking "Can we give y'all more songs" and growled before "Aquemini" started. Big Boi was going 110% and André seemed into it too, as they joked about Too $hort and Cadillacs. They brought Sleep Brown out, who rapped up front with Big as André paced at the pack. Big and Dré made some Jesse & Janet Jackson jests plus a PornHub joke before launching into "Ms Jackson" with a Big Boi yel. Then they split it up to individually tackle their Speakerboxxx/Love Below tracks. Big went first, jamming through "GhettoMusick" and "The Way You Move" with Sleepy Brown before asking the crowd to chant for André to come back. The first attempt got labeled "weak as fuck" and Andre´emerged to start "Vibrate". He followed that with "She Lives In My Lap" and "Prototype", where he noted ""Fellas if you go home and lady don't give you none, I tried. I seasoned it up." André seemed a little under enthused compared to the energy level Big had for his Speakerboxxx songs, but the takes were still solid. He brought some ladies up on stage and went through a very well received "Hey Ya". Big reemerged and they handled "Roses", "So Fresh So Clean" and some from their older catalog in a very entertaining, energetic end to Saturday at Treasure Island.