Treasure Island Festival is back in the Bay Area for the first time since 2016 and since moving from its namesake in San Francisco to Middle Harbor Shoreline Park in Oakland. Transportation to festival was made easy by Bart and the free shuttle provided by the festival. Although concert goers had to pay for their Bart pass, the free shuttle was easy and convenient going to and from the festival grounds.
Following its original structure of spotlighting hip-hop, R&B and electronic acts on Saturday, and guitar-driven indie and rock on Sunday, the lineup was diverse. Despite the eclectic mix of genres, we can attest to each artist performing with undeniable passion. Because of the genre diversity, the audience tended to be a bit older, which made it easier for us 16-21 year-olds to move our way to the front of each set. Treasure Island welcomes pop-up tents every year and they vary from diverse clothing brands to Do It Yourself tents.
On Saturday, the day began with Polo and Pan, an electronic duo hailing from France at the City Stage. They kicked up the dust with their bouncy electro-house tunes. They feature lots of unique sounds on synthesizers that create a light, bouncy sound that keeps people moving, featuring songs off their successful album Canopee. Favorite tracks include “Nana”, “Dorothy”, and “Khirgiz”.
Over on the Town stage, Hiatus Kaiyote arrived on stage to embrace the crowd with their electric set. Their unique sound combined with neo-soul, hip-hop, and acid jazz kept the crowd moving and grooving during the hot 3pm set. Their tracks “By Fire”, “Molasses”, and “Laputa” were crowd favorites, deriving from their award-winning album, Choose Your Weapon. The set had a bittersweet taste to it, with the recent announcement of vocalist Nai Palm’s recent diagnosis of breast cancer. Nevertheless, her otherworldly vocals and powerhouse stage presence swept the audience, bringing some to tears. A set full of fire and emotion.
We had the opportunity to see rapper, Amine after Hiatus Kaiyote. Amine’s set was simple, yet beautiful. He performed a lot of songs mostly his newest album, ONEPOINTFIVE, and those who were Amine fans in the crowd went crazy. During his set he performed his famous track “Caroline” and was not afraid to call out his audience with the line, “if you’re not black don’t say it.”
Next, singer Santigold surprised the crowd with an amazing setlist and stage presence. Coming out on stage with dollar bills, water bottles, and green moss stapled to a coral robe. Her set felt playful and similar to Dr. Seuss books. Santigold’s presence was radiating happiness as she allowed a lot of the audience on stage to dance and sing with her during one of her last tracks.
Laff Trax was up next, a duo featuring electronic beatmaker Nosaj Thing and chillwave pioneer Toro y Moi. Their new look was all house music – fairly something I wouldn’t expect from such musical creativity. House is all the rage right now, however I noticed myself getting bored of the set and was hoping for a track from either one’s new releases.
As the evening got closer, SIlk City took over the Town Stage. A new duo featuring Diplo and Mark Ronson, this was their second performance ever. THe stage was decked out with holographic brick walls that would light up, a giant neon sign, and visuals that felt you were in an underground rave somewhere in Europe. Their sound was unlike most of their original music (like Diplo’s well-known Major Lazer): a mix filled with tropical house, techno, and basshouse. Even though they only have one release (with Dua Lipa, called Electricity), both of their mixing skills are phenomenal and played many crowd favorites. They even featured Bay Area favorites, such as Too Short and E-40 tracks here and there.
At the end of the night we finally got the chance to see A$AP Rocky. The set was themed to match his newest album, Testing. Rocky performed in front of and on top of a giant crash test dummy head surrounded by smoke, lights, fire and foreworks. Rocky was fitted head to toe, wearing his usual Fendi throw and performed mostly songs off of Testing, but dedicated a good amount of time to rapping older A$AP Mob tracks like “Yamborghini High” and “Telephone Calls” which his long-term fans appreciated.
Sunday was filled with many great artists like Jungle, U.S. Girls and Courtney Barnett just to name a few.
Early on in the day we witnessed the energetic performance by Shame, a post-punk band from South London. Lead singer, Charlie Steen, knew just how to hype up the crowd with his edgy lyrics and dance moves. Steen crowd surfed as the rest of his band head banged their way through the set.
U.S. Girls came out and wowed the entire audience with their huge collective of artists. They took experimental pop to a new level with the amount of talented band members on stage. The lead singer, Meghan Remy, created a passionately funky and jazzy presence along her band members. Everyone in the crowd walked away from their set feeling ten times more groovy than they were before.
Courtney Barnett is definitely a crowd favorite, as the audience anxiously awaited for the Australian singer-songwriter to come out on stage. The rock star took the breath away from the crowd. Her presence was so cool and inspiring to see a woman so successful in the rock genre and watching her perform was truly an experience. The set was beautifully red, from the visuals to the drum set to her electric guitar, to match her newest album, Tell Me How You Really Feel.
The long awaited anticipation for Tame Impala to return to the U.S. (originally from Australia) was over, as they appeared as the closer of the festival on Sunday night. Their set was the most extravagant of the entire event, featuring lasers, confetti, fog machines, and a crowd of 20,000 people singing the lyrics to every song. Tame Impala is an ensemble led by Kevin Parker, with an indescribable sound of psychedelic rock mixed with use of synthesizers and distorted guitar and bass. Their recent album “Currents” features tracks that describe the transformation of the human soul and coming into the light out of a dark relationship, which became the theme of the event. The whole show was something you’d see from outer space – visuals of eyes turning into moons, colored fog outlining the silhouettes of the band, and the instruments echoing throughout the festival. It truly was ethereal; each song brining a different mood in the crowd, some eventually ending up in tears from the overwhelming emotional messages from the song about transformation and letting go. At the end of the set, three bursts of confetti filled the air, symbolizing freedom of the human soul, as Tame Impala’s music encourages to do. It was a beautiful set filled with beautiful music; a great end to a great event.