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