Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Treasure Island Music Festival-Day 2

Thao with The Get Down Stay Down
I managed to get up at the crack of 10am to get myself together so I could make it over to make sure I saw Thao Nguyen with The Get Down Stay Down and I don't regret the lack of sleep one bit. I figured it would be pretty empty earlier in the day since she went on at 1:10pm but surprisingly there was already a pretty large crowd for her. It was great to see so many people that were singing along to her songs. Just a few years ago I saw her play for free at the Rickshaw Stop and there were maybe 20 people at most there and I'm guessing a good amount of them were already in bands playing that day. Seeing Thao start beat boxing Bag of Hammers could have easily been one of the highlights of the day. Her album just came out on October 13th, go pick it up now it's called "Know Better Learn Faster".

Grizzly Bear
Next on my list for the festival was Grizzly Bear who I had seen earlier this year over at The Fillmore and I was just in awe of them and seriously how amazingly beautiful their music is. My only fear was that outside at a festival their sound might not come across as it should with their delicate sound. Gladly the sound came off as perfect as before. I've had friends tell me how they really boring but I think the more people that see Grizzly Bear, they notice how soft, yet perfect their music is. Grizzly Bear's Veckatimest is easily in my top 5 albums of the year.

Beirut was next on the list for me and I had yet to see them play live. The thing that surprises me is that Zach Condon of Beirut is only 23 years old as well as Thao Nguyen and interestingly enough they were both brought up in Virginia. What amazes me about Beirut is how Zach puts all these different layers of sound together and somehow manages to be put in the indie world when he is playing this amazing Eastern European music. At times when he was playing it was as if half of the crowd was in awe like they were seeing John Mayer, it was an interesting sight. It was a great set full of horns and hopefully he comes back sooner than later his next time around.

The Walkmen
The first time that I saw The Walkmen was back in 2003 and I remember being blown away by four guys who looked like they just walked out of their Ivy school fraternity together. Somehow they ended up floating off my radar for a couple years and I ended up seeing them live again and forgot how I could ever not catch a show of theirs again. I really think they stole the show for the day with Hamilton wailing away on his vocals and getting some local horns backing him up for the show that worked out great. When they finished their set, everyone around me was cracking jokes like "Well, that was a boring band...." as all the people in the crowd had no idea just what him them. It was exactly what was needed on Treasure Island to warm up the crowd with the wind and fog rolling in for their backdrop.

The Flaming Lips
What everyone came for the evening was The Flaming Lips and all the confetti that they could ask for. The great thing about The Flaming Lips is that you would expect all of their tech guys to set everything up for them and then they just jump out when everything is ready and play the show. Except it was exactly the opposite, Wayne Coyne came out right away and almost like a director showing where everything will go for the set and before they even started a song the crowd was going crazy for them during their setup. There is so much going on in their set that you almost forget to ever talk about the music that was played while Wayne is rolling around in a blow up plastic ball on your head singing their first song. The Flaming Lips blew away the crowd and some highlights were them talking about playing at the I-Beam in the Haight in the mid-80's and people assumed they were from San Francisco since they hardly played any shows and of course a smoking megaphone that Wayne sang to for The W.A.N.D.

Words: Nick Codling (
Photos: Will Sellers (

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