Every year since 2007, a mob has descended on the quiet and remote Treasure Island to have their eardrums pummeled by some of the best music going around. The first day is devoted to electronica and hip hop/rap, while the second is dedicated to rock and indie music, so there's truly something for everyone. Other draws are the 60-foot Ferris wheel and a Silent Disco where the only music playing is in the crowd's headphones. But, before you head out to that rock in the middle of the Bay, here's a nifty little cheat sheet of a few must-see musicians.
DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979 (Oct 15 @ 8:45p): If you're looking to mosh and don't mind your ear drums being blown out, Death from Above 1979 is just the band for you. Jesse F. Keeler (also known for his work on MSTRKRFT) and Sebastien Grainger shook the music world with their raw mish-mash of punk, hip-hop, dance music, and loads of volume. Like most good things, it came to an end too soon when they decided to disband in 2005. But take heart! They were just playing games with your heart and are back and ready to make it all better again.
YACHT (Oct 15 @ 2:15p): Seeing YACHT live is a bit like going to Jim Jones' People's Temple; you know, before things got out of hand and the Kool-Aid brand was sullied. Musician/multimedia artist Jona Bechtolt (formerly of The Blow) and vocalist/media artist Claire L. Evans use their electro-dance beats and sing-along choruses to indoctrinate you into their music cult. You might be doubtful now, but you'll most likely change your tune. At the last YACHT show I attended, Jona got everyone to kneel on the beer-sticky floor as he led all of us in a chant. Still not convinced? Check out their music video for "Psychic City" above, in which Jona gets a little carried away with communion wafers.
BEACH HOUSE (Oct 16 @ 6:00p): Baltimore-based duo Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally have been producing the soundtrack to my dreams for years now. It's a landscape of delicate synths, mournful organs, and Legrand's ghost-like vocals. When their records end, you get the same feeling as when you wake too early from a dream and start the routine of forgetting, that instant nostalgia and the mad urge to get it all back. Warning: their live show will almost surely turn you into that person who is swaying with their eyes shut, smiling like a fool.
ST. VINCENT (Oct 16 @ 2:50p): You would think someone as pretty as Annie Clark wouldn't have a thing to say, but boy does she ever. Her lyrics slice right through your heart like Cupid's arrow, her epic set of pipes pillage your eardrums, and her wailing guitar coarses through your skeleton. Her latest album, Strange Mercy, and the two that preceded it are full body experiences and her live show is that much more. You would be a fool to miss this.
EMPIRE OF THE SUN (OCT 15 @ 9:35p): Treasure Island is about to get glitter bombed by Empire of the Sun, an Australian band known for their flamboyant glam theatrics. Frontman Luke Steele is the baby that resulted from that time Prince molested David Bowie in a dark alley somewhere in Shanghai while Adam and the Ants watched. Speaking of babies, Steele's daughter's name is Sunny Tiger and his wife's name is Snappy Dolphin. I am not kidding.
CUT COPY (Oct 15 @ 7:55p): Melbourne-based Cut Copy want you to dance, no matter how bad you look doing it. Since the group's inception in 2001, songwriter, producer, and DJ Dan Whitford has married the physicality of club jams with the sing-along catchiness of radio hits from the '70s and '80s. If that doesn't make you move your body, I'm not sure what will.
THEE OH SEES (Oct 16 @ 12:00p): Boy-girl vocals, garage rock with catchy hooks, from San Francisco. Need I say more? Oh, yes, one more thing: wear deodorant because you're definitely going to break a sweat. Support these local darlings!
FLYING LOTUS (Oct 15 @ 7:05p):The great nephew of Alice Coltrane, Steven Ellison a.k.a. FlyLo fuses disparate musical genres like techno and jazz and throws each concoction into outer space. The result is some seriously trippy atmospheric jams that will surely please the 420 crowd.
WARPAINT (Oct 16 @ 2:05p): Since their 2009 debut, LA based girl gang, Warpaint, have been giving new life to the psychedelia genre. With a mix of hypnotic vocals and hazy rhythms, they've crashed what was once a boy's club and there's no sign that they'll be leaving anytime soon.
FRIENDLY FIRES (Oct 16 @ 6:50p): This dancepunk outfit consists of three Englishmen who know how to get the blood pumping. Known for their high-energy live shows, this is the perfect opportunity to shake off whatever is bugging you and put those feet to good use.
Treasure Island Music Festival runs from October 15th-16th, 2011. For tickets and information, visit treasureislandfestival.com