This weekend in the Bay Area, an old friend returns — but in new threads. Treasure Island 2018 ends a one-year absence on Saturday and Sunday in Oakland at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park.
Treasure Island gets its name from the place the event took place over a decade. Though it moved locations after a year off in 2017, the festival stuck to its guns. The brand that Treasure Island built from 2007-to-2016 was too valuable to lose, and they’re right.
The festival has always cultivated an identity of being a pretty hip festival — and ahead of the curve. They trotted out LCD Soundsystem as a festival headliner in 2010, years before they’d get that distinction on the top-tier festival circuit. Justice headlined the inaugural year in 2008. The most mainstream the festival has ever gone with a headliner was OutKast on their victory lap in 2014. A$AP Rocky figures to be the most mainstream since that year, and he still satisfies those who value things that are left-of-center of the rest of the pack.
The only year I attended Treasure Island was in its final year at the old location, and just for Sunday. It was a year of disaster for the festival, as horrendous weather wiped out a lot of Saturday performances and even some equipment. Bay Area hip-hop favorite Kamaiyah saved the day by performing two sets to help out, and those of us who attended Sunday got to see Sigur Ros play a little bit later in the evening because a weather delay in the rain. Because of this, the fog was even heavier and it was perfect. I might be alone in valuing that extra hour in the cold, however.
I attended Blurry Vision 2018 where Treasure Island is taking place in Oakland back in May. Though that was a bare-bones operation, the location itself presented a well-grassed area with beautiful views. I’m interested to see what the Treasure Island team does with it.
The lineup is unique enough that I wish I could be two places at once with Desert Daze taking place closer to home for me this weekend. But I’ll have a Bay Area writer there, Zach Friedman, who did a good job helping me out with Blurry Vision coverage.
Here’s some recommendations for Can’t Miss Acts beyond the obvious this weekend in Oakland:
SHARON VAN ETTEN
Sharon Van Etten is one of my favorite singer-songwriters and she just released her first new track in many years. It’s completely different than anything we’ve heard from her before. It’s called “Comeback Kid” and very New Order in a way she’s never been before. She played it at Austin City Limits and it was weird to see her with just a microphone like the frontperson of a stadium rock band. But she really pulled it off. I got goosebumps just watching it through a computer screen. She plays Treasure Island on Sunday at 3:30 PM.
Hiatus Kaiyote is another band that doesn’t get enough festival bookings. The Aussie four-piece plays Saturday at 3:30 PM. My first introduction to them was through an Anderson Paak guest verse when I was in an Uber and the driver had good taste. Lead vocalist Nai Palm has such an epic smooth and silky voice. The whole band is groovy as hell and will put you in your feels.
Soccer Mommy is one of the most promising in a wave of strong and badass women lighting up the indie rock scene. Her debut studio full-length record dropped this March and will surely end up on a lot of best-of year-end lists. Her crystal-clear deep vocals really drill the heaviness of her songs into your brain in a memorable way. LA fans can rejoice — she has an Oct. 16 show at the Teragram Ballroom with SASAMI. She plays Treasure Island on Sunday at 1:20 PM.
I just caught these guys for the first time at Music Tastes Good 2018 a couple weekends back and they put on a helluva show. The British post-punk band are lead by the charisma of singer Charlie Steen, but the whole band is fire on stage. It was a hot as hell day in Long Beach when I saw them and they didn’t let it affect their performance – -though I’m worried Steen got sunburnt to hell. Every song was a punch to the face and Steen had some serious Liam Gallagher frontman swagger. They’re Sunday at 2:45 PM.
They’ve got some solid food options at Treasure Island this year too. The fat kid in me is jealous of anyone who grabs a Rocko’s ice cream taco — Choco Tacos were like drugs to me growing up. Oakland’s Itani Ramen will also be on site — when it gets cold at night that seems like a go-to.
They’ll also have some killer art installations, many of them created by local Bay Area artists. SF-based art collective Chromaforms have a stainless-steel sea turtle gives horoscope readings to patrons depending on what time of day they push a button.
Words by Mark Ortega