Live Review: Shaky Knees Festival 2015

Ah, Shaky Knees. The third annual Shaky Knees Festival was this past weekend at Central Park, which was once the site of Music Midtown back in its original era. This weekend was one of those rare Atlanta festival weekends in which no rain was had and the sun was shining the whole time. So even despite the extreme heat, I was very appreciative to not have to trudge around in mud all weekend.

Some highlights:

  • No rain
  • Playing the “Spot Girls Who Think They’re At Coachella” game
  • TONS of short beer lines
  • An insane amount of good music – each show I was able to see was amazing

Some lowlights:

  • Long food truck lines
  • Heat and the mud dust we inhaled all weeked
  • The new trend of half-up buns. Why?!?


The Strokes
The Strokes. Photo by Hillery Terenzi.

I kicked things off with Wavves on Friday, having unfortunately just missed Tennis, and it was the perfect set to get me in the right state of mind for the rest of the weekend. Thanks to the strategic placement of the Ponce De Leon and Boulevard stages being adjacent to one another, I was able to hang out in the same area for the next two bands I wanted to see – Mac Demarco and Kaiser Chiefs. For those two shows I hung back near the Full Bar area under a tree, which ended up being a favorite spot for the rest of the weekend. Thankfully, the sound from all the stages was incredible all weekend, and almost seemed louder the further away from the stage you went.

I then headed over to the other side of the festival to see TV On The Radio at the Piedmont stage, after taking a few pictures with friends in the skull photo booth of course. This was my first time seeing TV On The Radio live, and they were truly everything I wanted and more. They played a good mix of old and new, which the entire crowd ate up every second of.

After that, we were ready for dinner and got in line with what felt like everyone else in attendance at the festival to grab some food at the food trucks. My only complaint for the entire weekend is this experience, which took an hour and a half. I do believe it was one of those freaky circumstances in which everyone got hungry at the same time, because the lines for food were reasonably short for the rest of the weekend. And, on the contrary to that – there were little to no beer lines the entire weekend, which is always a good thing.

Luckily I was able to catch the tail end of The Pixies performance, and ran up to the stage just in time to see “Where Is My Mind” which immediately made me forget about my terrible food truck experience. We then ended the evening with The Strokes, another first for me and a childhood dream of mine to boot.


Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers. Photo by Hillery Terenzi.

Arrived at the festival in time to see Fidlar at Buford Hwy stage – a rockin’ set that had the crowd moving like crazy. I then walked over to my trusty shady tree spot in front of Ponce De Leon stage to catch the end of The Black Lips, and stayed there for the next few hours to catch Built To Spill, Neutral Milk Hotel (still bummed I missed Interpol), Milky Chance, and Wilco.

Milky Chance and Wilco were my two favorites of that little stretch of music. Milky Chance is one of those bands that seemingly came out of nowhere and then was suddenly inescapable on the radio, but in a way that isn’t annoying in the least. Their sound is definitely unique, incredibly catchy, and also just really damn good. Their live energy mixed in with their folk, reggae and jazz beats makes it impossible to not dance to.

Wilco has been around for longer than some of our interns have been alive, and it shows. They were celebrating their 20th anniversary and were definitely on their game Saturday night.

After Wilco we headed to the Peachtree stage to catch the headliners of the night, The Avett Brothers. I’ve always been a semi-fan of theirs, but had never seen them live. I’ve always heard good things, but was really impressed with their live performance. By far one of my favorite moments of the weekend was when The Avett Brothers performed “Live and Die,” a sing-along inducing ballad that had everyone up and moving. I can say without a doubt that I am a true fan of theirs now.


Tame Impala
Tame Impala. Photo by Hillery Terenzi.

Day three was by far the hottest day of the weekend, but given all the amazing music I was able to see this day, really can’t complain too much. We started the day off with The Sheepdogs at Boulevard stage, thankfully under the shade of our tree, then headed over to Best Coast at the Piedmont Stage. We also stopped by the food trucks again and got some of the best shrimp tacos I’ve ever had.

After Best Coast we headed to Dr. Dog at the Peachtree stage, which was nothing short of spectacular. Especially loved the part where Tim Sweetwood came out in a dress to introduce the band. I then split my time between Panda Bear, which came with some pretty trippy visuals and then went to Trombone Shorty for some good old fashioned funk & jazz.

We stayed put under our shade tree to see Xavier Rudd & The United Nations perform a very fun and interesting set, then went to grab even more food before Tame Impala.

Tame Impala was one of the bands I was most excited to see, as I’ve been a fan of theirs for quite some time and hadn’t gotten a chance to see them yet (despite their statement that it was their first time in Atlanta, they actually came to The Tabernacle in 2013). They truly blew me away, from the amazing lights to their phenomenal improvisations. They transitioned from song to song beautifully, and although I didn’t hear everything I wanted to hear, I was more than satisfied.

Overall, Shaky Knees was an amazing festival with a lineup that will likely be hard to beat in the future (but I have faith)!


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