First, I will point out that the Fox Theater is one of my favorite places to shoot. Photographing there is always a pleasure. I get into my groove and often find myself dancing in the pit, along with the front row. Last night was no different – for me at least. At first, the audience’s energy was as high as usual. Lead vocalist and keyboard player Michael Angelakos and his band took the stage to an expected roar from the young crowd. The ground floor was shaking as they opened with “Make Light” off of their 2009 debut LP Manners. After the initial songs though, the energy in the Fox just wasn’t the same. Maybe it was due to the BART strike that the whole top balcony remained almost-empty, maybe it was because people were saving their energy for the double Kanye West shows in the area this week, but something gave me the impression that the kids here were just not giving the band what they deserved.
Give Will Sheff a can of dog food, and he’ll turn it into an anthem.
Over the course of Okkervil River’s two-hour set at the Fillmore Tuesday night, Sheff played the Rock God; constantly throwing his guitar behind his back, wrapping his grasshopper-thin frame around the microphone stand, towering over the crowd and occasionally falling onto lead guitarist Lauren Gurgiolo. Blink your eyes and you might have been on the set of School of Rock.
Fortunately, Sheff is backed by a group of musicians both precise and bombastic enough to make his Rock God dreams a reality, creating enough sound and energy to fill an arena.
Festival-goers were far more aware of the harsh conditions of Treasure Island so jackets and pants, were incorporated into everyone’s wardrobes. Day two also had more instrumental bands rather than DJs, so there was definitely more energy as the concert progressed. I suppose if questioned on the matter, I admit not a fan of all the laptops that took the stage. Not to say electronic music isn’t the future (it is the language of robot love, after all), I will always prefer guitar and singing to computers. Just don’t blame me when Skynet gains sentiency.
Check out the full Treasure Island Day 2 Photos
The opening act at the Tunnel Stage was Io Echo, it was my first time hearing them and I am a fan! Ioanna Gika has an incredible singing voice and made a cover of the Beatles’ “I Want You/ She’s So Heavy” truly their own. If you haven’t heard of them, check them out and name your first child after me as a “thank you.”
Treasure Island continued on Sunday with Sleigh Bells absolutely tearing the house down, helping everyone forget that they couldn’t feel their extremities. Japandroids and Beck also weathered the . . . weather.
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
Day 1 of Treasure Island was everything you could’ve hoped for, but colder! Atoms for Peace headlined and delivered. Holy Ghost! and local artist, Giraffage rounded out the more upbeat of the two days.
Sleeper of day 1: Giraffae (& the cold!), local electro artist check him out
Best Outfits: Adult. (BY FAR)
Pleasant surprise: Cleanest portable restrooms in the history of outdoor events!
Most memorable performance: Atoms for Peace. Thom Yorke. Enough said.
Least memorable performance: Major Lazer
Check out the gallery!
Baltimore based rapper and producer, Oddisee, released a mixtape called The Beauty In All last month. The 12 track beat tape builds off the producers keen sense of matching melodies to the season (he previously released an album called Odd Seasons).
With its mellowed piano trill, “After Thought,” is one of the many highlights on the mixtape that is perfect for pressing play and letting go.
Listen to the full mixtape here.
The Boiler Room is officially coming to San Francisco for the first time this Saturday with Madlib taking front center. The famous London based DJ party, which has featured the likes of Jamie xx, ?uestlove, Thom Yorke, James Murphy, Nicolas Jaar and many more, will be hosting Treasure Island’s after party ’till 3am.
The venue still hasn’t been disclosed, but let’s just say it’s a “sweet” spot in SF. The full lineup includes:
Keaton Henson was a long way from home. The London based singer, poet, and visual artist traveled the Atlantic for a handful of shows in the United States, kicking off the tour at The Chapel in San Francisco last Wednesday night. It was short–probably as Henson had hoped. Henson has severe stage anxiety and rarely performs. Had his debut album, Dear, not been discovered and shared by BBC’s Radio1 host, Zane Low, he likely would have amassed a collection of music that would have never been shared. He would have thought they were terrible.
The official video for Blake and Chance’s remix to Blake’s “Overgrown” entitled “Round Here” was released today. The video, shot entirely in black and white, tracks Blake and Chance as they cruise in a lowrider through an eerie forest inhabited by stallions and Somalian pirates. The video was directed by Nabil, noted for his work with Justin Timberlake, Frank Ocean, Britney Spears and even Blake’s “Overgrown.”