Treasure Island Music Festival Recap

Hayden Irwin/Staff

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This past weekend, Treasure Island Music Festival brought a relaxed experience filled with musicians ranging from electronica to hip-hop and indie rock alike. With a stunning view of the city and captivating performances, the festival was its own little party in the middle of the Bay.

CHET FAKER

Electronica musician Chet Faker walked onto the Tunnel Stage with a classic man bun (which at some point transitions into a full beard) and gray sweater, looking very much like the festival’s attendees themselves. His captivating stage presence and contagious dance moves, though, could easily distinguish him from the hoards of bearded men in the crowd.

Using a simple setup of just a soundboard, a couple of mics and a keyboard, the artist got the entire crowd to sway to his thumping bass — a segue into his first song, “I’m Into You.” As the set progressed, the artist warmly communicated with his audience, asking them to “help him out with the lyrics” in the chorus of “No Diggity” and “Talk is Cheap,” all the while maintaining a coolness true to his jazzy, downtempo sound.

The singer-songwriter, who doubles as an electronic music producer, projected an independent authenticity that — although it wasn’t doused in high energy — stood as a refreshing mid-day standout in Sunday’s lineup. Standing in for stage lights, the sun even began to spotlight the artist on stage, silhouetting him against the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline.

— Tiffany Kim

BANKS

Upon entering the stage, Jillian Banks, wearing lace and all black, looked like a modern-day Morticia Addams. The 26-year-old glided to and from the microphone throughout her set, viciously making eye contact with the radius of her extensive crowd. Her icy, warrior-like persona on stage paralleled the confidence pervading her album, Goddess. Banks only broke from character to state her love for San Francisco and to thank the festival for being the “perfect ending” to her tour.

Among Banks’ pitch-perfect humming, cooing and belting, the artist radiated honesty in her performance, drawing extra attention to the emotional depth in her lyrics. Between the dominant beats and bass in “Brain” and “Drowning,” Banks even revealed to her audience “how all of her songs started — with a voice and a keyboard” — through a stripped-down version of her song “Fall Over.”

Banks nicely balanced ballads with anthems in her set list and spilled her emotion onto the stage through her brooding low register. Her performance is further evidence that her debut album, Goddess, is very much aptly named.

— Tiffany Kim

Danish singer-songwriter Karen Marie Ørsted, often recognized by her stage name, MØ, is known for her effortless combination of angelic vocals and haunting electro-pop sounds, but not many people have the opportunity to see her unbridled charisma and unapologetic eccentricity in person. With her trademark braid, an eye patch that unintentionally matched the pirate theme of Treasure Island and the confidence to break out some of the dorkiest pelvic thrusts, MØ undoubtedly gave one of the most memorable performances of Treasure Island’s first day.

MØ’s set was highlighted by her utilization of the stage backdrop, displaying a montage of video clips which supplemented her act. This created a unique experience for the crowd that ultimately elevated her performance above those of her peers. The content of the clips ranged from footage of MØ singing background vocals to vintage film clips of people snapping in synchrony with animal heartbeats, adding to the peculiar appeal of her unconventional art-punk aesthetic.

— Josh Gu

ST. LUCIA

Armed to the teeth with synth-driven pop sounds, St. Lucia electrified the evening air of Treasure Island’s Saturday set with a flurry of uptempo tracks with infectious beats and catchy lyrics that made terrible dancing and ever-embarrassing scream-singing a wonderful inevitability. The Brooklyn-based indietronica group showcased their undeniable stage presence and crowd chemistry with chorus chants incited by lead singer and frontman Jean-Philip Grobler.

Standouts from their performance included hit songs from their new album, When the Night, including “Elevate,” “Closer Than This” and “All Eyes on You.” Their mesmerizing instrumentation — coupled with bright lights dancing to the rhythm of the songs with almost as much enthusiasm as Grobler — created a euphoric atmosphere and kept the audience animated and excited throughout the set.

Amid the annoying teenage fangirls and the aggressively drunk 40-somethings, it started to become hard to appreciate the music festival, but with St. Lucia, it was different. The energy they brought to their performance gave the audience a special freedom to indulge and enjoy the music.

— Josh Gu

Contact Tiffany Kim at [email protected].
Contact Josh Gu at [email protected].