Shaky Knees Sunday
The third and final day of the 2018 Shaky Knees festival is in the books. It’s was a beautiful day with hardly a cloud in the sky, just like we had on Friday. The crowd came out early today and the festival grounds filled up quick for an eclectic lineup with a ton of great bands.
Songs for Kids
It’s always a blast to see the folks from Songs for Kids at the festival helping kids overcome various disabilities and bringing joy into their lives through the power of song and performance. Mika sang a fun version of “Sweet Jane” and then they brought out Addison on guitar to play fun version of “Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones. A field full of smiles was loving it.
Mt. Joy kicked off the festival on the main stage with a big crowd and a great set of laid-back tunes that were a perfect start for a Sunday afternoon. After the first song, singer Matt Quinn invited two people from side stage, Kyle and Jess, to come onto stage. They had gone on a date to the first Shaky Knees and this one was their 5th. Kyle then got down on one knee and proposed to Jess. She said yes! “Holy shit” Quinn said, “we’ll have to play a love song now’” as the band launched into a fantastic tune called “Jenny Jenkins.”
The Wild Reeds
Coming into the festival I had a friend tell me that The Wild Reeds were the new band to see this year and I have to say he was right. Hailing from Los Angeles, The Wild Reeds are an indie-folk group featuring the talents of 3 amazing singer songwriters, Kinsey Lee, Mackenzie Howe, and Sharon Silva. Every song was an emotional roller coaster with beautiful 3-part harmonies, powerful arrangements and passionate lyrics. The drummer was at it so hard at times that he kept pushing the kick drum forward on stage.
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real
Next up on the main stage was Luke Nelson & Promise of the Real. The son of Willie Nelson, Nelson pulled deep from the well of classic country, rock, honkey-tonk, and a bit of soul to really heat things up at the festival. “This is song I wrote about aliens. I was watching Rick and Morty and this song just popped out.” Nelson said by way of introducing a new song called “Entirely Different Stars.”
Dance-y, upbeat and fun, Sir Sly, from Los Angeles, got the crowd dancing over on the Piedmont Stage as the day was heating up. Their current single “High” is a great tune for the dancefloor with catchy vocals and some stabbing bass riffs.
Bringing shoegaze to the main stage, Alvvays from Toronto, Canada have released 2 great records over the last few years and the large crowd in attendance seemed to know most every word. When they were in town a few months back for a show at Terminal West it was standing room only so it’s amazing to see them make another leap up to the big festival stage. They played a great set of songs including, “In Undertow,” “Plimsoll Punks,” “Saved by a Waif” and the crowd favorite, “Archie, Marry Me.”
Parcels was another great band we saw for the first time. We did a quick photo session with the band earlier in the day that was fun, but nothing compared to the killer, funk-disco grooved they were laying down on the Piedmont stage. Last year the band had a chance to work on their single “Overnight” with none other than Daft Punk.
Lord Huron walked out onto the stage and into the afternoon sun and dust and played a fantastic set of songs that covered a wide range of their albums including their recently released 3rd album, Vide Noir, which came out last month. After putting out their debut record in 2012, each release find them building on their indie-folk based sound and really stretching out even further live with a earthly passion that the crowd loved.
How fun was Basement? While all the big stages had the more established, legacy acts, other stages like the Criminal Record stage had all fun and spirit of club show and Basement’s set was a perfect example. In the 20 minutes I caught of their set there had to have been at least 30 crowd surfers loving their pop-punk sound
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
All attitude and swagger, BRMC took the stage and kicked it out. Singer, Robert Levon Been, sporting a black leather jacket and low slung Gibson bass kicked it out in the 80º + degree heat. Like The Black Angels, it’s always weird to see a band like BRMC with the sun shining outside, but they brought the blackness with them and rocked it out through songs like “Ain’t No Easy Way,” “Beat the Devils Tattoo” and “Red Eyes and Tears.”
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats
Rateliff brought a killer live band and a ton of great songs to the festival that had the crowd up and dancing the whole time. They deliver a joyous sound, with plenty of R&B, rock and roll and hints of Americana to deliver a powerful and grounded sound. Songs like “Say it Louder,” “A Little Honey” and the set closer, “Tearing at the Seams” really hit the crowd hard.
After getting hot and sweaty over on the Piedmont Stage the crowd filed over to the Peachtree stage to take a little break. As the sun started heading down on the final day of the fest, James Gabriel Keogh, or as he’s known professionally as Vance Joy set a perfectly mellow mood with songs like “Like Gold”, “Take Your Time” and a few tunes that he played solo in the middle of his set like, “Call Me if You Need Me.”
The Criminal Records stage could do no wrong today, and the Menzingers on Epitaph records was another crowd-surfing fest of 90s/00s-ish punk rock with hints of Green Day, Bad Religion and many of the other bands that Epitaph is known for. They had the whole crowd singing along to “I Don’t Wanna Be an Asshole Anymore.”
A quick walk across the parking lot from the Criminal Records stage and we were all set for The Voidz, Julian Casablancas current project. A cool mashup or rock and roll, new wave, no wave and metal, at times tuneful at times dissonant. They started off with “Pointlessness,” “Pyramid of Bones” and “Wink” before ending their set with the Strokes cover, “I’ll Try Anything Once.”
Having never seen the D live before I wasn’t sure what to expect, but my guess that there would be a lot of comedy and a lot of rock was right on the mark. The first part of the set was mostly Jack and Kyle riffing through bits but when they got down to rocking it was ton of fun as they ripped through “The Metal,” “Dio,” “Tribute” and the crowd pleaser, “Fuck her Gently.”
The folks at Shaky Knees know how to throw a world class show, so it was no surprise when a breathtaking sunset occurred just as The National took the stage. Moody, powerful and introspective the National, fronted by lead singer Matt Berninger took us on an emotional ride through their world of swirling guitars, Berninger’s scratchy low voice and a pounding rhythm section. Careening through 18 songs in all they touched on a majority of their records, kicking off with “Nobody Else Will Be There,” “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness,” “Bloodbuzz Ohio” and many more before releasing us all into the night with their final song, an acoustic version of Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks.”
Review by John McNicholas – Photos by Hillery Terenzi and John McNicholas