The merry, merry month of May indeed! Lemme tell ya, even with the I-85 bridge out, this May in Atlanta, GA was pretty, pretty good – especially the 12th through the 14th, when the city played host to something called “Shaky Knees.”
What is Shaky Knees you ask? Held at Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta, Shaky Knees Music Festival began in 2013 as a two-day annual indie music festival and has since expanded to include a third day. The festival has featured artists from around the globe and smaller regional acts as well, spotlighting performances by the likes of The Lumineers, Modest Mouse, The 1975, Alabama Shakes, The Strokes, The Avett Brothers, Spoon, The Head and the Heart and Cold War Kids.
The 2017 lineup included LCD Soundsystem, The XX, Phoenix, Cage the Elephant, Ryan Adams, X Ambassadors, The Revivalists, Moon Taxi, The Record Company and tons more!
You can hear many of these artists on Adult Alternative (one of Mood’s many Core programs), and on occasion I use some of these sounds to help design custom music experiences for national and global brands.
The experience of SEEING live music has always been big for me. It’s a shared experience, sure, but also affects me on a personal level. Not to get too into it, but I usually leave a show with a new appreciation for the act and their music – basking in the afterglow of that unique, special connection between artist and fan.
So, when the opportunity arose to encounter these acts live over three days, I jumped…eventually.
I was an idiot for waiting. The prices for tickets and hotel had gone up by the time I pulled the trigger, but it was worth it! A great atmosphere, friendly people…super shows! And no camping. This is one of those festivals that run noon to 11pm. Then they close up the park and get ready for the next day.
Among the highlights (that I can recall off-hand): Friday night sets by Cage The Elephant (lead singer Matthew Shultz, sporting a soccer jersey, prancing all around the stage like a young – or old – Mick Jagger. Also, a performance by Portugal. The Man (who threw in a quick cover of “Day Man” from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and plenty of purple smoke during “Purple Yellow Red and Blue.”)
I got a one-day VIP wristband for Saturday, after hearing about the VIP perks with viewing platforms, premium sightlines for all 3 stages, free beer, water and BBQ – never mind the reserved air conditioned restrooms. Nice. I spent the day enjoying (among others) Shovels And Rope, Anderson East (and a fantastic brass section,) a hopping and excited Bishop Briggs, Moon Taxi doing a cover of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall,” and the XX playing to a packed field of fans, there to witness the band’s first U.S. festival headlining spot and first Atlanta show in four years. It was amazing to see Jamie XX switching between a loaded DJ table and an acoustic drum kit.
I split early Sunday after watching Saint Motel, who didn’t disappoint those gathered at the main Peachtree stage to see them play one of the most pop-sounding sets of the weekend. The band included plenty from last years Saintmotelevision release and a super version of “My Type.” Those friggin’ horns!
Then it was time to say “so long” Shaky Knees Music Festival! Looking forward to returning in 2018, with a couple of minor changes. Next year, I’m getting my tickets early – and it’s gonna be a 3-day VIP.
Once you go flushable toilets, you’ll never go back.
– Submitted by Brian Chamberlain, Music Design