Thursday, October 21, 2010

Treasure Island Festival Day 2 - Pictures, Review

Day 2 at Treasure Island got off to a tenuous start: the morning was quite rainy, and the festival grounds were unquestionably dampened in the early hours of the day. However, after a few (quite aggressive) downpours, the weather took the rest of the day off, and things cleared up just in time for us to start checking out some killer tunes on the "rock" day of the fest.


We've been really digging on Superchunk's latest disc Majesty Shredding, so we were stoked to make sure we caught their set at the festival. The band definitely did not disappoint, and have clearly been putting in the time to rehearse for this tour. Their set was ridiculously tight, and brought the rock and roll out to play right when the dreary day needed it most.

The set was a nice mix of old and new material, and it seemed like pretty much everyone taking in the show was well satisfied. With less frequent records and touring, Superchunk is somewhat in danger of being relegated to a nostalgia act, so it was nice to see them realize the full potential of their new material, and deliver a killer set that left little doubt as to their solidity as a band.

The Sea And Cake

After Superchunk's set, we headed over to catch The Sea And Cake, a constant favorite around these parts. The band, who haven't had a new record in a while, delivered a set that focused heavily on their last two, Car Alarm and Everybody.

The band was just coming off of a lengthy tour with Broken Social Scene, and did seem a tad road-weary, but nonetheless managed a killer set. They're always on top of making their tunes live up to the album versions, and the intricacy and exacting nature of their playing is always a treat.

At the end of the day, The Sea And Cake are one of our faves both on record and in a live environment. Getting to see them play a set at a show that already had so many awesome bands on the bill was like icing on the cake.

She & Him

She & Him made their way on stage to the shrill screams of a countless number of women, and from there, well...we don't exactly know what to say. Does Zooey Deschanel have a decent voice? Sure. Decent in the sense that if you went to karaoke with her, you'd probably have a good time. Decent in the sense that she should be taking up Matt Ward's time and talent? Not exactly.

Look, we know they probably love each other to death. We know that she's a movie star, and that sells records. We know that they probably both appreciate each other's talents so much. But that's not really the point. The point, is that Matt Ward is a killer musician in his own right, and when we hear She & Him it just seems so middle of the road. At the end of the day, at least for us, that's just not good enough.

Broken Social Scene

Luckily, our skepticism was soon to be overridden by the awesomeness that is Broken Social Scene. As mentioned above, the band was on the final date of a lengthy tour with The Sea And Cake. Frontman Kevin Drew was quick to admit they were dragging a bit, and the crowd was quick to respond with a solid dose of enthusiasm.

Despite being tired, the band certainly didn't let it get the best of their set, and they pulled out all the stops in delivering the rock and roll to the masses. As is custom, the band traded up on vocals and instruments, including a vast array of horns to even out the material. The set started off with a positively epic rendition of "Meet Me In The Basement", and took off from there.

In terms of the "pillars" of BSS, Kevin Drew, Brendan Canning, and Andrew Whiteman were all in attendance. The female vocals were filled out by now-regular member Lisa Lobsinger, who did a killer job on "Shoreline" and "Anthems For A 17 Year Old Girl", to name a couple. For a festival show, this one really did the trick, and the band's enthusiasm combined with a killer setlist (below) left us more than satisfied.

Broken Social Scene Treasure Island Setlist
Meet Me In The Basement
Fire-eyed Boy
Texaco Bitches
Forced To Love
World Sick
Anthems For A 17 Year Old Girl
Almost Crimes
All To All
Ibi Dreams Of Pavement

The National

As always, The National delivered an impecable set, both visually and sonically. These guys have simply got their act down, and they deliver every time. The set was timed perfectly as darkness fell on the festival, and the band emerged amidst smokey lights to offer up their own brand of melancholic soul.

That being said, The National are so well put together that it's starting to feel a little contrived. The act is always dead on, and it's always so heavy, that one starts to wonder if it's genuine. Don't get us wrong: these guys make killer records, and have an amazingly well composed live show. We just worry that if they don't switch it up a little, they might be in danger of becoming a one trick pony.

Rogue Wave

SF locals Rogue Wave closed out the night at the second stage with a set of their own unique folky-rock mix. It's a testament to the band that their material is both artistically solid and easily accessible, and the crowd that assembled clearly enjoyed taking it all in.

The set was a truly enjoyable display of the band's musical talents, and they headed right through a set of great songs such that the set passed rapidly. Ted Nesseth of The Heavenly States joined the band on stage, which was a treat as well. The band closed out the set, and the crowd promptly began the migration for the final set of the night.

Belle & Sebastian

When we heard about Belle & Sebastian headlining the festival, we were a little skeptical. Don't get us wrong: we love the band, and they positively kill in a live environment. It's just that we really couldn't figure if Stuart Murdoch and Co. would be able to deliver a set that was engaging and "big" enough to own the main stage.

Well, Murdoch was clearly dead set on proving any misgivings anyone had completely wrong, and took to the stage bursting with energy and enthusiasm. In trippy glasses and a scarf, he and the band proceeded to deliver a set that ran the gamut of their lengthy career, and had something for everyone.

While the quieter songs were a little more difficult to latch onto in the live environment, overall the band's set was well on top of things, and made sure it owned the night. One of the nice things about B&S is that their records are so restrained, and then their live show is so raucous. It reminds you that "twee" or not, these are clearly rock musicians who want to play their hearts out.

They did exactly that, and the set was a great close to a fantastic weekend.