We have a little saying here on Treasure Island: “Jesus Christ, it’s cold.” Words that echoed through the minds of many young twenty-somethings as the festival progressed, cold winds whipping at the flowers in their hair. People always think San Francisco is a warm, sunny city, but it is cold, my friends–sunny–but cold. Day one of the Treasure Island Music Festival was a mix of uptempo, electro music and people unprepared for the wind-chill. (Much respect for those who attended in t-shirts and shorts, realized how cold it was, refused to spend forty-five dollars on a Major Lazer hoodie, and are now dealing with low-level frostbite.)
Now that the image of an island paradise has been erased, let’s get down to business and talk music.
Antwon is considered the “next Biggie Smalls” from a reliable source (not my mother), but from what I gathered, while potential is there, he has a long way to go. My problem is that if you have technology to make your voice sound like a robot why would you waste your time talking about having sex with women? If I could talk like a robot and I had a captivated audience I’d take a little time to maybe defend the Star Wars prequels or do an audiobook. But I’d still go to an Antwon show, the dude is a legitimate performer, leading us in a singalong of a Backstreet Boys cover and having the time of his life doing so.
Adult. (Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee Miller) is by far the best thing to come out of Detroit since Robocop and “The Homer” by Powell Motors combined. Adult. is a band that consists of two people that share a connection so deep you wonder if they are either brother and sister or a couple, but you’re definitely sure they have a sexual relationship. (They are in fact married.) They had a unique style that I could get into – synth pop 80s throwback – and Kuperus sang her last song while walking through the audience, complimenting the people who were better prepared for the weather.
To quote a drunk girl carrying hula hoops stumbling home: “Major Lazer sucked.” Certainly not my cup of tea, I was given the impression that people in charge of booking wanted Pitbull but this was the closest they could get. I give them credit for having people crowd-surf in gigantic, inflatable beach balls. I am always a sucker for audience participation. At the end of the day, the audience loved them, and they were the ones performing on stage, not me, so there’s a good chance that the drunk hula hoop girl and I are wrong in our assessment of the band’s talents.
It should almost go without saying that Atoms for Peace was an almost religious experience. Thom Yorke assembled a supergroup of musicians to play songs from last February’s Amok album as well as some older song’s from Yorke’s “Eraser.” Radiohead fans rejoiced when “Paperbag Writer” was played, complete with Thom Yorke’s signature dancing/ wiggling/ flailing about. I think the only thing that eclipsed Mr. Yorke’s dancing was Flea (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers) playing bass. If there is a God he created Flea to be the standard by which other bassists are judged. A consummate artist and an absolute pleasure to see live. He is the embodiment of a rock star.
-Written by Joe Gorman and photographs by Ryan Holmes