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Festival Review: Treasure Island Music Festival 2012

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     Festival Review: Treasure Island Music Festival 2012

    San Francisco’s Treasure Island Music Festival is a bit under-appreciated by outsiders, but that’s how we like it. The festival’s proximity to the city’s trademark bay makes the transition from day to night unforgettable, as the autumn-tinged sunset that hugged the surrounding skyline on Sunday evening was a picturesque reverie.

    While most of the bands on this year’s lineup are currently or have been touring for the past year, there were a few rare performances thrown into the mix. Public Enemy stormed out unabashed and full of attitude, Joanna Newsom remained in her own world, and The xx brought Coexist to life. Even this year’s festival staples like Best Coast, Youth Lagoon, or araabMUZIK managed to add subtle, mature differences that only perfected their now expected sets.

    So check out some of my scribblings, and be sure to check out the gallery. It’s a good one.

    – Summer Dunsmore
    Staff Writer

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    Saturday, October 13th

    grimes2 Festival Review: Treasure Island Music Festival 2012

    Photo by Summer Dunsmore

    Grimes – Tunnel Stage - 2:15 p.m.

    Grimes, aka Claire Boucher, offered up a short six-song performance, diving straight into “Symphonia IX (My Wait is U)” and other picks off this year’s Visions. With a light-hearted, coy smile she spun the entire set on her flower-adorned GAIA keyboard, flanked on both sides by her skeleton-costumed backup singers. Two songs trumped all: the surprising dubstep remix of “Oblivion” and her mind-watering collaboration with Blood Diamonds, “Phone Sex”. The eclectic dance party at the end only solidified everyone’s support of the budding gothwave princess.

    toroymoi2 Festival Review: Treasure Island Music Festival 2012

    Photo by Ted Maider

    Toro Y Moi – Tunnel Stage - 3:45 p.m.

    It’s my personal opinion that Toro Y Moi’s gone downhill following his 2010 debut LP, Causers of This, losing his provincial funk sound for something a little more commercial and pastiche (i.e. this year’s June 2009). And yet, never having seen Chazwick Bundick perform live before, I wanted to give him a chance. Beating away at his keyboard while crooning into the microphone, he relied mostly on the classics, playing tracks like “Talamak” and “How I Know”, both intelligent blends of electro and funk that are true to his style. “Low Shoulders” was the performance winner, during which the band seemed like they actually enjoyed being on stage. Otherwise, it was a show of little impact – quick, painless, and easy to forget.

    publicenemy7 Festival Review: Treasure Island Music Festival 2012

    Photo by Ted Maider

    Public Enemy – Bridge Stage - 4:35 p.m.

    Public Enemy comes from the “entourage ideal”, the notion that you should cram as many people on stage as possible, even if one is just standing there in a soldier’s uniform doing “the robot”. There was Davey D on bass guitar, the legendary producer and rapper Chuck D, T-Bone on drums, rapper Professor Griff, DJ Lord, and, of course, Flavor Flav. Their performance pinballed between a mix of bonafide rapping, drunken rambling, and social commentary.

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    As expected, excellent renditions of seminal classics like “Bring the Noise”, “Don’t Believe the Hype”, and ”He Got Game” rolled on by and hyped up the crowd. What wasn’t expected, however, was Flavor Flav’s dysmorphic puppetry. He danced about, offended the Bay Area by criticizing their baseball teams, interrupted Chuck D regularly, and came off as just really desperate and excited that someone, anyone, much less a whole fucking crowd of people, was listening to him. Regardless, he possessed a strange charm that was dazzling as much as it was annoying. Someone get this man in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

    araabmuzik2 Festival Review: Treasure Island Music Festival 2012

    Photo by Ted Maider

    AraabMuzik – Tunnel Stage – 5:25 p.m.

    After an hour of fists in the air and chanting “fuck racism” during Public Enemy, Abraham Orellana of araabMUZIK kept the energy going, constructing a dizzying 30-minute stream of beats on stage, making araabMUZIK’s performance one of the festival’s surprises. He dropped the heaviest beats I heard all weekend, a bass-heavy set of fresh dub and modular mixes from his recently released Instrumental University. Though mostly a mash-up medley, new tracks like “1,2,3 Grind” stood out, as well as a remix of Flux Pavilion’s “I Can’t Stop”. No one at Treasure Island could resist the tantalizing lure of the music, and hyper dancing and popping and hopping was to be seen everywhere.

    presets2 Festival Review: Treasure Island Music Festival 2012

    Photo by Ted Maider

    The Presets – Bridge Stage - 7:50 p.m.

    It was hard not to love The Presets after their glittery version of “Kicking and Screaming”, off 2008’s Apocalypso. Recognizing a good thing when they saw it, the Australian electronic duo stuck with the album and tossed out cuts of ”Talk Like That” and “If I Know You”. The true highlight was ”I Go Hard, I Go Home”, off their 2005 debut Beams, which left Julian Hamilton to sing his heart out like the glam rock maven he is.

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