Treasure Island fest: Flaming Lips, Yo La Tengo, Decemberists


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Folk this: Decemberists' Colin Meloy. All photos by Kimberly Chun.

By Kimberly Chun

Ah, washing up on Treasure Isle late in the day Sunday, Oct. 18, seemed like the way - though it was a bummer to miss Vetiver, Beirut, et al. The short and sweet stuff: it was considerably colder and foggier than Saturday, so it was in everybody's best interest to huddle together en masse while Walkmen and then the Decemberists played. And wow, what fabulous animations accompanied the Portland, Ore., band's set - tumbling with wild things, pyramids, geometrics, landscapes of jewel-like mountains and obelisks, star fields, and the like. The perfect accompaniment to the delicate Brit folk and outright psych-prog the band is purveying these days: the standout was the title track of this year's The Hazards of Love album (Capitol).

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Greening of YLT: Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan, right, and James McNew.

The following set by Yo La Tengo seemed almost anticlimactic, though you had to appreciate the strenuous noise jams the band is rolling out. Ira Kaplan helmed the keyboard from the start then switched over to guitar as the combo abruptly segued into "Stockholm Syndrome," with James McNew on falsetto vocals. Up next, just as quickly: the loveable, cacophonous "Here to Fall" off YLT's new Popular Songs (Matador).

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Man in a bubble: Flaming Lips in utero.

The wait was completely worth it, as we tarried in the photo pit (and my camera decided to die on me) and Wayne Coyne and the Flaming Lips set up on the main stage. All-girl backup vocalists with bunny ears, the Lips busting through the pull-apart screen at the exact do-go-there spot where a massive go-go girl opened her legs. (Coyne rolled out in his big bubble, followed by a stage-diving bunny.) Ah, no one delivers a show like FL (though there was a health emergency up front where I was -- the frontman later asked to see if the lady taken off was OK). Coyne offered an opening monologue about how the group is an honorary SF band of sorts since the first show they ever played was at the beloved ole I-Beam in the Haight. We'll take 'em.

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