Appeal staffers Alex Bigman and Hunter Mulich made their way to the Treasure Island Music Festival Saturday (and are heading back today).

What did they think? What did they see? That’s easy to answer: just check out Hunter’s slideshow above, and both of their write-ups below.

Alex Bigman

Treasure Island may not have the foodie oases or swanky wine tents that Outside Lands does, but if you value things like manageable lines, a free, cushy and unbelievably efficient shuttle setup, SF skyline views and actually being able to get a decent spot for the bands you want to see, you’ll probably find Treasure Island more accommodating. Gargantuan festivals certainly have an appeal of their own, but not one that I could handle more than once a year – if that.

Saturday offered the festival’s more in-your-face music fare, ranging from metal (Death From Above 1979) to electro dance (Buraka Som Sistema) and including lots of electro-tinged stuff in between. As such, it drew a pretty hilarious combination of rave kids, hipsters and frat boys (more on this later). Blessed with near-unimprovable weather conditions, we all coexisted peacefully.

YACHT: Their latest album, Shangri-La, was stillborn, and the band’s once fun, now overbearing cult-philosophizing is largely to blame (so is lazy, self-indulgent songwriting). However, this eccentric shtick is also totally the kind of thing that would go over well in a festival atmosphere. Unfortunately, armed only with their floppy new material, YACHT’s theatricality failed to suffice; they proved unable to command the venue’s wide-open space.

Battles: I wasn’t thinking much about this band, coming in; now, it’s clear that I should have been. Battles’ “math rock” sound is one of few styles these days with proper claim to avant-garde status. Being as labor intensive as it is sonically provocative, it makes for a killer live show, too. John Stanier’s percussion work in particular was pure, sweat-drenched villainy. They promised to come back to SF and “play a real venue, where we can do everything we want to.” Considering how they pulverized this island, I can only imagine.

Chromeo: This duo really jibes with the frat boy, gym rat community, apparently. This came as a surprise to me, but perhaps it shouldn’t have – they’re basically watered down Basement Jaxx, injected with hair metal-sized guitar. They worked their crowd well; when guitarist David Macklovitch expressed disappointment in how few girls were on shoulders, the audience’s male members took his words as a challenge. At least a dozen went up; it was kind of phenomenal. Unfortunately, that was also the set’s highlight.

Cut Copy: Cut Copy’s live show is the stuff of legend; now, I understand why. The quartet work like 9-foot-tall basketball players, with pop as their court: when they have possession of the ball – and they nearly always do – they need only lay it in the net. Sometimes (like, every song) they slam-dunk it, just for kicks. After a slew of choruses like the ones in “Lights and Music,” “Feel the Love” and “Corner of the Sky,” the proverbial net was in flames.

Hunter Mulich, who also took all the photos above

Treasure Island is a rarity in this time of ridiculously massive music festivals.

There are no heartbreaking schedule conflicts, no endless mobs of people lost and waddling towards the next band. It’s one little island, two little stages, and a lot of dancing – with a view.

Saturday’s lineup, much like the day itsself, was a party. From the early afternoon funk of Aloe Blacc, to the banging beats of Buraka Som Sistema and Flying Lotus, to the electric energy of Chromeo and Empire of the Sun, the day was non-stop.

If the island really is sinking, that marathon of jumping and raging surely didn’t help. People went “Bonkers” to U.K. rapper Dizzee Rascal and showered in the “Lights and Music” of Cut Copy. Some wore jeans, some wore pirate outfits.

“So do all you people live on this island? We heard it’s a commune,” joked Claire Evans, lead singer of YACHT. “It sure looks like one out there.”

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the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at

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