TREASURE ISLAND — Attendees to the 10th and final Treasure Island Music Festival were easy to spot Sunday on the BART ride home—tired spirits bundled for warmth and many wearing rain gear, their footwear caked in mud.
While rain caused a three-hour delay Saturday and left the puddle-pocked grounds sopping, it was high winds that brought proceedings to a stall Sunday. The rains mostly cleared by mid-afternoon, making for a pleasant day, although skeptical, persistent, poncho-wearing showgoers were a common sight throughout.
Wind came into play later in the day, closing the ferris wheel for the second consecutive day and canceling English art pop and dubstep artist James Blake’s set. Tycho played an impromptu DJ set for nearly two hours to hold the crowd over.
The wind-swept, rain-slogged event capped 10 years of music festivals on the island. Due to a redevelopment plan, promoters plan to relocate to a to-be-determined site in the Bay Area in 2017.
RIFF braved the elements Sunday and found four sets that clearly stood above the rest. Check out our list and a full photo gallery, below.
Sigur Rós’ sendoff
Icelandic post-rock and ambient trio Sigur Rós held the honor of performing the final set on Treasure Island. The tour marks the band’s first performing as a trio. Though keyboardist Kjartan Sveinsson left in 2013, the group has toured with a collection of string players to fill out its sound in recent years. Their absence was felt on Sunday’s opener, summer single “Óveður,” which was a dud following an energetic Purity Ring set and a 20-minute delay from a rescheduled start time. But the band quickly filled the gap, stepping out of their narrowing vortex of lights at center stage to explode into “Sæglópur.” Jonsí and company seemed primed to end the festival on a reflective note.
Rainbows and metal with Deafheaven
A rainbow split the sky in the East Bay as San Francisco metal outfit Deafheaven howled through a 40-minute set. Given that singer George Clarke called them the “odd man out”—the lone metal group on a lineup of mostly indie rock, EDM, dream pop and hip-hop—it was two flavors that felt like they had never met before. Clarke roared and stomped across the stage, delivering bruising selections from last year’s thrashy New Bermuda. The showstopper was the closing number, “Dream House,” their now-essential opening track to 2013’s blackgaze masterpiece Sunbather, when Clarke climbed down off the stage to high-five the audience and sing from the rail on the ending refrain.
Christine and the Queens embrace sunshine and acceptance
Heloïse Letissier and her dancers performed a 45 minute set of pure freedom in the afternoon, 45 minutes during which Letissier encouraged the crowd “to be free to be whoever you want to be.” Letissier took on different personas throughout the set but one that was undeniably true to herself and unique to the festival. The French singer and her crew performed an inspired set complete with theatrical choreographed dances that were as seemingly as in-sync and flawless as a Beyoncé routine. Her positive and energetic pop routine roused a dance party among hundreds in the mud puddles while the sun came out and the bubbles flew by.
Car Seat Headrest livens up a sleepy afternoon
Virginia indie rock band Car Seat Headrest livened up what was, until their set, a pleasant but sleepy start to the festival’s second day. The band is young both in years and in the age of its members, but it has put out an astonishing 12 albums. Led by lead singer and songwriter Will Toledo, who started Car Seat Headrest as a solo project in 2010, the band brought an undeniably different and dynamic rock sound and energy to a festival that heavily featured pop and electronic artists. Many of their songs came from new, critically-acclaimed album Teens of Denial. The crowd seemed to love every minute, sticking around through the last song despite intermittent rain showers.
Follow writer Heather Ah San at Twitter.com/heathermalia.