Tag: Or the Whale

Keane, Ingrid Michaelson, and Fran Healy @ Fox Theater (07.20.10)

Keane | Ingrid Michaelson | Fran Healy

Yes, that’s still my favorite Keane song. And if you’re thinking I’m not a very good Keane fan for liking their old pop single, you’re right. I’m not. While I own their debut record, “Hopes & Fears,” I’ve never really been a fan of the band, despite the fact that we share the same name and that their popularity hides some of my web content when you search for me on Google (a blessing, really). I’ve always thought of them as talented, but just not my particular cup of tea. So when a friend messaged me with an opportunity to see Keane for free, I chuckled a little (again, we share the same name – the jokes went on WELL into the night) but happily agreed to check them out.


Going in, I knew little about Fran Healy, the lead singer of Travis, aside from a few quality songs I heard from his band. I fully expected to enjoy Ingrid Michaelson’s set the most, as I find her minimalist style of songwriting endearing. Keane, I suspected I would enjoy, though I was not really sure how much.


Fran Healy completely won the audience with his solo act. His was an intimate set, filled with stories about playing on tour, “nicking chords” from Noel Gallagher of Oasis (he since slipped in the phrase “What’s a Wonderwall, anyway?” into the alleged Travis song, “Writing to Reach You”), and having his heart broken by girl after girl. He messed up noticeably several times on stage (“Ahhh, fuck!”), only adding to the warmth of his performance.

Surprisingly, I didn’t care for Ingrid’s set at all. I felt she spent a good percentage of her performance playing cover songs (“Creep” is overdone – everyone, stop it now) and being an overall goofball. While I think this works most of the time, going on a seemingly five-minute long rant about her boobs was a bit much. And perhaps if I hadn’t heard Or, the Whale‘s amazing rendition of Britney’s “Toxic,” I may have enjoyed her closing version of it more. Don’t get me wrong. I think she’s an amazing artist. I would have just liked to see more of her art.

I enjoyed Keane very much. While I’m not a fan of listening to their music at home, it translated incredibly well into a live show. The same endless vocals and keys that bore me at home provided a steady stream of energy into the crowd. And the crowd seemed to enjoy it thoroughly, as the band spent more time smiling in thanks between songs while the crowd cheered their mouths and my eardrums off.

There was a point when everyone started chanting, “KEANE, KEANE, KEANE, KEANE.” I may or may not have pretended in my head that they were chanting for me. Just a little bit.

WC PERFORMER – Treasure Island Music Festival 2008


Show of the Month
Treasure Island Music Festival
Treasure Island, CA
September 20-21, 2008

The sun broke free and fans flocked to the middle of the San Francisco Bay for the second annual Treasure Island Music Festival this September. With a green bent and a breezy, beach party theme, the two-day celebration of music and art did not cease to amaze with its excellent booking, immaculate views and all-around smooth-sailing execution.

Opening Day One was the winner of imeem’s Mutiny and Mayhem competition, San Francisco’s very own The Frail. Kicking off its early set with “Addicted,” the energetic dance-rock quartet put on a strong performance that included songs off its new Firefly EP. Soon after, the crowd migrated to the Bridge Stage for Loquat, another SF mainstay. With an ethereal performance full of chimes and harmonious vocals, Loquat contrasted the rampant energy of the previous band with songs from its latest, Secrets of the Sea.

Following Chester French, East Coast transplant Aesop Rock energized fans with his mastery of crowd-rousing wordplay, joined onstage by DJ Big Wiz and Rob Sonic. Hands were readily in the air for their performance of “Ready Aim Shoot.” As the end of their set neared, Aesop jokingly commented on being timed, “I keep looking at my watch like I’m waiting for my girl’s pregnancy test,” garnering a mixed reaction of shock and laughter. Nortec Collective followed on the Tunnel Stage with a unique blend of electronica and Norteño themes. Hailing from Tijuana, the genre-melding five-piece encouraged inventive dancing among the crowd on songs like “Shake it Up.”

Later that afternoon, local DJ and turntablist extraordinaire Mike Relm unleashed an innovative and almost comedic mashup of popular songs, ranging from Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name” to Vince Guaraldi’s “Linus and Lucy” (yes, the piano piece from Peanuts). His was an appropriate set, ushering the eclectic energy of the following acts, TV on the Radio, CSS and Justice, and turning the island into one big dance party before the first day closed.

Or, the Whale, another Mutiny and Mayhem winner, opened Day Two with an organically strong and harmonious performance, establishing the mood for an already sunny day. With the tambourine-laden “Call and Response,” the scene was set for more alt-folk acts to follow. Local music hero John Vanderslice graced the Bridge Stage with a full band, playing a standout sampling of old and new songs, including the marching “Time to Go” off of 2007’s Emerald City. He exhibited enormous gratitude to a crowd more than willing to reciprocate.

Continuing the string of Bay Area bands was Port O’Brien, with a huge seven-piece ensemble in tow to match the impressively large crowd. They concluded with the disbursement of pots and pans, allowing the crowd to participate in a rollicking performance of “I Woke Up Today.”

Later that afternoon, Berkeley’s The Morning Benders performed a set of catchy alt-pop hits, including new song “All Day Day Light” and finishing with a sing-along to “Grain of Salt.” On the Bridge Stage, a faulty cable couldn’t faze Austin’s Okkervil River as lead singer Will Sheff joked, “A lot of these sets here at the festival are very, very professional, and I hope you can appreciate the difference.” Okkervil’s poignantly rambunctious set included songs from new release, The Stand Ins. Fleet Foxes followed with an impressively tight performance full of glorious vocal polyphony. The “baroque pop” band from Seattle started its set a cappella and filled the show with offbeat banter (including a discussion on the Judeo-Christian paradigm), for a captivated audience that included The Raconteurs, stageside. The last performing West Coast band of the weekend, The Dodos featured at most three performers onstage, however their percussive sound easily filled the entire field. The hometown group utilized a variety of instruments, producing a huge wave of echoing melodies over complex rhythms.

As Sunday night came to a close, the final presentation was perhaps not The Raconteurs’ frenetically awesome set, but rather the San Francisco skyline setting off a quiet light show of her own.

-Review by Keane Li; photos by Brian Echon (more…)

Check out some of my quick shots from TIMF Day 1 and Day 2!