Treasure Island Day 2 Photos and Review: Massive Attack, alt-J, Chet Faker and More


Sunday at Treasure Island Music Festival was predictably chill. Like years past, Sunday’s lineup of indie rock and downtempo electronic artists served as the perfect “hair of the dog” to Saturday’s cocktail of electronic and hip hop acts. Even the weather mellowed by a cool five degrees. The crowd, far soberer, drifted between sedentary cigarette puffs and stages. With Massive Attack as the headliner, what could you expect?

For many, Sunday’s lineup was stacked. The coupling of older respected bands like The New Pornographers and Massive Attack with budding contemporaries like alt-J, Chet Faker and Washed Out left little for wanting: fans knew they’d imbibe in a heavy pour of chillwave, art rock, and the like. However, in reality, like a friend solemnly bemoaning a breakup, after a while you just want to say “Cheer up bud!”

Acts such as Cathedrals, Bleached and The Growlers got the day started, and by the time Chet Faker took the stage, it felt like the crowd was pining for an energy boost. Though the previous set by The New Porngraphers matched perfect harmonies and rhythm (not sounding like they were just kicking off a tour after recently releasing their first album in four years), it couldn’t quite make up for the disappointment from Banks’ set. Her voice sounded flat, either because it was weathered after a long tour, or the fault of the sound engineers (who messed up the previous day with Janelle Monae).

Thankfully, Faker grabbed the crowd’s attention alone on stage, looping and layering heavy bass-driven beats with a synthesizer, his vocals mirroring the recordings. With the packed crowd already swaying by the third song, their hands raised as if exclaiming “hallelujah!”, Faker was then joined by a guitarist and drummer whom provided a fuller sound that took tracks like “Gold” and “Drop The Game” to the next level.

The crowd’s invigoration continued for TV On The Radio, and the band didn’t let them down. During “Wolf Like Me,” a middle aged woman, who had climbed five feet up a light poll and held on to it with one arm, waved her other arm freely without the least bit of concern of falling.

After Faker and TV On The Radio, the energy of the festival never let up. Minneapolis-based Poliça turned in one of the most surprising and dance-worthy sets of the whole festival. Vocalist Channy Leaneagh danced around the stage, in and out of the last rays of light from the sunset setting behind her. The synth driven beats and heavily distorted lyrics had the crowd pulsing and crashing, like breakers against the front of the Tunnel Stage.

Next up was alt-J, who just released the incredible new album This Is All Yours. They said this was the first time they have played the new songs in a festival setting and kicked it off with the single, “Hunger of the Pine.” The buzz from the crowd was electric. Something about watching music on an October night where the temperature managed to hold on above 60 and the wind wasn’t freezing was special. Even songs I didn’t love on the album, like “Left Hand Free,” became suddenly very moving live.

Anyone who has been a fan of Washed Out for awhile has been able to see an incredible evolution. From an amazing artist who crafts beats from his home, to a full fledged live act that can get an entire music festival moving, Ernest Greene is only getting better with each performance. The ambient, chillwave beats had people dancing, even those 50 yards to the side of the main audience. I really enjoyed “It All Feels Right” which benefits from all the live instrumentation added in recent years.

What can I say about Massive Attack? They were fantastic, and there is a reason they have been one of the most recognizable names in electronic music since the early 90s. Their set started off dark and brooding, with everyone but singer Martina Topley-Bird in the shadows. As they continued to play the logos of large and dubious corporations were flashed in rapid succession in the background. Whether fans had been with them since “Unfinished Sympathy” or just knew them as the group who made the theme song for the TV show House, everyone seemed to be enjoying the deep bass, clean beats and haunting lyrics.

Check out our photos and let us know your favorite act below.

Photos by Bob Patterson


Treasure Island Day 1 Photos and Review


Every year the Treasure Island Music Festival marks the end of summer for me. With the nights becoming shorter, I was excited to get out of the city for a day, enjoy some live music, and break out the last summer outfit of the year. The weather in San Francisco is always perfect during this time in October.  This weekend was no exception, which helped make Day 1’s lineup the perfect beginning to fall.

The first band I want to mention is London-based Jungle.  I had never heard the music, but their synth-funk grooves were appropriately scheduled as the sun started to set into the evening.  It felt like L.A… only a little breezier.  It also didn’t hurt that the backup singers harmonized with a falsetto style reminiscent of the Bee Gees.  Plus the keyboardist won us over with his SF Giants button up.  Smooth move dude.

Next on the main stage was Janelle Monae, who was carted onto the scene wearing a straitjacket.  Once free, she broke out with confidence and energy, despite some technical difficulties with her mic on the first song.  Midway through her performance, she stopped to address female inequality, as she called out for equal rights across multiple minorities in the crowd.  From my side of the stage, the response to these messages seemed either repressed or disinterested.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.  Maybe the crowd was still trying to process Janelle Monae’s New Age, Doo-wop style.  Either way, I was interested in the whole performance.


Then the night took a completely different turn, as the audience was overwhelmed by EDM artist, Zedd.  As he magically orchestrated a DJ set without headphones, I wondered, “Is he doing anything?”  Probably not.  “Am I watching a Michael Bay movie right now?”  Maybe.  “Should I get some food right now?”  Hrm.  Maybe I wasn’t in the mood or the right kind of high, but at this point in the lineup I was counting down to Outkast.

When they finally took the stage, I remembered all the house parties and jungle juice.  I remembered my funk band in college and our cover of “SpottieOttie.”  Their set never settled with hits as they broke into classics like “Hey Ya!,” “B.O.B,” and “Ms. Jackson.”  The crowd danced, chanted and chilled in unison.  There’s something about Outkast that makes you feel connected with those around you, regardless if you’re drunk, stoned or totally sober.  It was a set you felt okay ending the night with.

In previous years, the walk back to the festival shuttles is the last thing I want to do.  It’s an unavoidable tradition unless you have the cash to splurge on a taxi.  But last night, walking amongst the herd of people, I felt totally satisfied and not too cold.

Written by Lolly Dormido

Photographs by Darryl Kirchner


Devendra Banhart and Andy Cabic Play Intimate Set at BAM


Devendra Banhart and Andy Cabic have been friends and musical collaborators for over a decade, so it makes sense that their intimate show at the Berkeley Art Museum (BAM) was akin to watching two extremely talented pals have a jam session.

Together, Cabic and Barnhart created the record label Gnomonsong around 2005 with their first release being a solo album by Jana Hunter of Lower Dens. Here is a photograph of them from the old days when they both had significantly more hair than they do now:

old days

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Giveaway: 2 Tickets to RÜFÜS DU SOL Friday October 24th at Mezzanine


Today we are teaming up with Columbia Records to give one lucky fan a pair of tickets to see RÜFÜS DU SOL at the Mezzanine Friday October 24th. RÜFÜS DU SOL is one of those hard to miss acts over the summer, with break out single “Sundream” and the fantastic new album Atlas recently being released here in the U.S. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Classixx busted out their remix of “Sundream” this weekend at Treasure Island Music Festival.

The group is based out of Sydney, Australia and creates fantastic synth pop/ dance music. If you like Cut Copy, Flume, Emoh Instead, Strange Talk, Bag Raiders or any number of the other great electronic acts from down under, you will love RÜFÜS. Don’t miss out on your chance to catch them, Hermitude and DJ Aaron Axelson, enter below.  Rafflecopter giveaway



Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr Returns to Rock The Fillmore October 22nd


One of our favorite acts, Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr, is coming back to play the Fillmore next Wednesday with Minature Tigers and Madi Diaz, it will be the best show you’ll ever see. It will literally melt your face off like when they opened the Ark in Indiana Jones. Well, maybe that is a bit over the top, but it will be a very fucking good show, and if you are free October 22nd you should definitely go.

We caught DEJJ last they hit the Fillmore and it was a fantastic night filled with great music, bubbles and dancing. They are a group that shrugs off labels and genres, giving you harmonies like The Beach Boys mixed with beats that sound like they were created with long-forgotten settings on an 80s Casio keyboard. We also saw them at First City Festival this year where Josh Epstein, (who sings and plays a little bit of everything including sax for the Detroit-based act), decided to spend some time singing with the crowd. Read More


Interview with Alyssa Robbins, Playing Hotel Utah This Friday Night


About two years ago, I had the opportunity to meet singer-songwriter Alyssa Robbins at a mutual friend’s house in Washington State. Since then, I have been following her career from afar as she continued to evolve her style in Brooklyn.

Recently, Robbins recorded her second album, her first since 2007, entitled Our Time Was Here We Just Forgot To Bea short album that manages to touch on many musical styles. Think Aimee Mann, Bonnie Raitt and a few surprises in between. She is touring on the new album and stopping here in SF to open for Two Man Gentleman Band Friday night. But before she does we asked her a few questions.

SFCritic(SFC): I have been enjoying your new album Our Time was Here We Just Forgot How To Be. It has a really different feel than your first album, both in the type of music you are playing and the way you use your voice. What changed or inspired you to evolve your sound since the last album? Read More

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Review: Milky Chance Release Sadneccesary Ahead of Show at Rickshaw Stop


Milky Chance is one of those acts that appears to come out of nowhere, but immediately makes its presence known. Similar to Gotye, their single “Stolen Dance” just emerges from thin air, and then you hear it everywhere. Recently, I heard it in a cab and at my favorite ramen spot on the same day. Although it is a major accomplishment to have a breakthrough single, more impressive is how many great songs appear on their debut album Sadneccesary. 

Hailing from Kassel, Germany duo Clemens Rehbein and Philipp Dausch met in the 11th grade and started creating music as Milky Chance in 2012. They must have clicked immediately because the two mix genres such as folk, reggae, spanish guitar and electronic together with a maturity and skill where many, many others try and fall flat. Read More


Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) Saves the Day at The Mezzanine


It’s been a while since I’ve been to a show as a writer. Normally out shooting as a photographer, I decided to muster up the courage to get out on a Tuesday evening with one of my best friends to see what Yasiin Bey still had to offer this once malleable hip-hop head. The reason for doing so was two-fold; I still have a special place in my heart for ‘real’ hip-hop, and because I’ve been following Mos Def (Bey’s FKA) and his career since the early Black Star days. I’ve always felt personally engaged and interested in what he stands for in his music and that his position and demeanor are both genuine and unique, so I was looking forward to seeing him perform solo. (David and I caught the dynamic Black Star duo at the 2011 Rock the Bells show). For me, the night was a roller coaster of entertainment, enjoyment and disappointment.

It started off with your typical ‘indie’ hip-hop show theatrics – more acts on-stage than originally scheduled, a late-by-design set of performances, and a questionable hype-man who faltered in between sets. The crowd began to BOO as comedian Chris Riggins decided to segregate and separate concert-goers by racially profiling fans. As if he had planned it all along, the ‘host’ called out to the crowd, asking, “Are y’all ready to see some real hip-hop tonight?” The response was not quite what he had hoped, so he decided to single out a fair skinned patron by asking him what his problem was. The man looked confused as he said, “What are you talking about? I’m ready,” while he smiled and put up his hands. (He was one of the few people actually engaged.) When the crowd grew even more silent, the host replied to the young man, ‘Yeah, whatever. My bad, white privilege.’ Read More


Treasure Island Music Festival Announces 2014 Set Times


As we near the one week countdown for Treasure Island Music Festival, the organizers have spilled the beans on artist set times. For those who aren’t familiar with TIMF, set times aren’t as stressful as other festivals because all the acts happen on two adjacent stages and don’t overlap, it really cuts down on the FOMO.

While there is nothing super surprising about the order of the acts, at least now you will know when you have to wake up and catch the shuttle. Try to wake up “early” to catch local electronic act Cathedrals at noon on Sunday! The full daily set times can be found here. I’ve also listed them below with relevant reviews from SFCritic. Read More

Ages and Ages with LSD

Photos: Lake Street Dive, Ages and Ages Thrill Sold-out Fillmore


Last night, The Fillmore hosted two fantastic sets from Lake Street Dive and Ages and Ages. We have been excited for this show for several weeks, but I have to admit that as a huge San Francisco Giants fan I was initially not happy to leave a big playoff game and head to the Fillmore. Luckily what I found there was some great music and a high energy crowd ready to dance and sing along.

I hadn’t yet seen the opener Ages and Ages, who hail from Portland, but I have been listening to their recent album Divisionary for the past week. Led by singer and guitarist Tim Perry, they play a feel-good folk rock that layers rounds of lyrics for an incredibly full sound. Instrumentally, they remind me of their fellow Portlandians The Decemberists, but the rich vocals bring me to the warm memories of singing with family and friends. Read More

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