Shaky Knees 2016 is upon us, ready to kick in gear this Friday, May 13th. This year in downtown Atlanta at Centennial Olympic Park and International Plaza, Shaky Knees is bigger than ever. With over 75 bands, like any larger festival, the decisions become difficult when picking which sets to attend.
Less than a week away, now it’s time to start planning out your own personal schedule for this year’s Shaky Knees. Once again this year, Shaky Knees has 5 stages, with 2-3 stages going at any one time. As opposed to Friday and Sunday, Saturday time slots are staggered around with sets at different stages crossing into another, instead of starting and ending at the same time. Depending on the ease of getting stage to stage, there may be more opportunity on Saturday to bounce around to catch pieces of multiple sets. Which makes a perfect time to discover something new.
Instead of the Shaky Knees Death Matches for the difficult decisions we’ve been doing on Friday, Day 1 time slots, for Saturday we present our 6 must catch acts of Shaky Knees Day 2. Excluding the headliner time slot (hello My Morning Jacket!!!) and Foals, because if you were at Shaky Knees two years ago, well, you already know.
Our 6 Must Catch Acts of Shaky Knees 2016 Day 2:
Strand of Oaks – Peachtree Stage – 1:15PM-2PM
Philly-based Strand of Oaks released HEAL back in the early summer of 2015 via Dead Oceans; Tim Showalter is a storyteller through American-style rock and roll. His lyrics are honest and compelling, putting everything he’s got out there to see. Showalter is an exceptional musician to see live.
HEAL parts ways with the folk/singer-songwriter sound of previous albums, instead turning more to a powerful classic rock vibe. Tim’s gritty voice gladly accompanies a heavier intensified drum, with a backing of synth, and boosting guitar, delivering something more powerful. Listen to “Goshen ’97” and “Shut In” to get a hint of the emotionally charged Philly rock sound that’s going to hit the Peachtree stage on Saturday. It’s easy to fall for Strand of Oaks when watching him sing his guts out, smiling from ear to ear through his tough exterior. Strand of Oaks is one of the must-see sets of the weekend. – LP
Hop Along – Piedmont Stage – 1:45PM-2:30PM
Philly-based indie rock band Hop Along released Painted Shut back in 2015 via Saddle Creek, which is the follow up to their 2012 self-released album Get Disowned. Both albums channel rock with a punk spin giving an array of the genre-bending sound of 90’s style alt and indie rock.
The band’s lead singer and songwriter Frances Quinlan belts out her at times raspy style poetic lyrics that bash against the transitions in the guitars and drums. It’s easy to get carried away into the fierce fury of feeling in their music like the song “Tibetan Pop Stars.” It brings you back into the grungy era of music of deeper meaning and angst. Hop Along executes their rattled version of punk inspired alternative rock in the right way painting the progression of what modern day grunge should look and sound like. I saw Hop Along open for Modest Mouse and they blew me away, the same thing they are going to do to Shaky Knees. – LP
Shakey Graves – Ponce de Leon Stage – 3:45PM-4:45PM
This is one I’m not speaking from experience on….yet. Talk to me at 4:45PM after Shakey Graves takes the Shaky Knees crowd by storm. If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a million times, bring up the name Shakey Graves and the first response you will get is “Have you seen him live?” At this point I’m believer and I’ve some how missed my few chances to catch him live. But I won’t be missing this set, and you shouldn’t either.
Shakey Graves is Austin based Alejandro Rose-Garcia who up until recently was probably best known as an actor for roles in movies and a recurring role on the Friday Night Lights TV series. But don’t let the word actor fool you, this is one talented musician and songwriter who plays a mix of country, blues, folk and rock ‘n’ roll. Shakey Graves has released two albums in his 2011 debut, and last album, 2014’s And the War Came. Often taking the one man band approach with an acoustic guitar and homemade kick drum, other times with additional band members, Shakey Graves brings an intense level of energy to his live show, captivating an audience with his charisma, gritty voice, and melodic sense. The word has spread around the country about Shakey Graves, selling out venue after venue; Saturday, Shaky Knees is about to find out what it’s all about. Don’t miss this one. – MG
Deer Tick – Peachtree Stage – 4:45PM-5:45PM
Deer Tick might be the most consistent American band going. There’s a certain joy that comes with listening to a band that’s able to turn out track after track that keeps you entertained. Every time you put on a Deer Tick album you know what you’re getting. And that workman like attitude is exactly what makes them so great.
Even though the band formed in Rhode Island it’s hard to not associate their sound with the American Southwest. Their music is tailor-made for long dusty roads that end with a cold beer in a dive bar. John McCauley’s gravel-filled voice perfectly plays off intricately picked guitars; he sounds like a world-weary traveler who just needs to get something off his chest.
I don’t know that there’s a more perfect band for the 4:45 slot; Deer Tick was built for dusk. In that hazy period between the excitement & anticipation of the early afternoon acts and the evening headliners, Deer Tick will be there to bridge the gap. Get lost in their sound and take a ride through their long-winding roads. Even if you don’t know any of their music Deer Tick will make you walk away from their set knowing exactly who they are, and you’ll love it. – ME
Check out “The Dream’s in the Ditch”:
Wild Nothing – Piedmont Stage – 5:15PM-6:15PM
Wild Nothing may be one of the more interesting and compelling acts of Shaky Knees Day 2. Wild Nothing is Jack Tatum out of Virginia with his 3 piece live band that is currently touring behind his third full length critically acclaimed album, Life of Pause. If synth pop is even remotely your flavor, then Wild Nothing is for you, as they are on top of the game currently.
Wild Nothing has always been good for a number of electro pop gems throughout each album. But on the latest, Tatum has shown a growth in the production work and experimenting into newer sounds, expanding out the list of genres you could say he touches. R&B, psychedelia, tropicalia, new wave, dream pop, he touches on them all, yet able to mold them all together into an experimental pop that’s both interesting and fresh. The textures and dimensions of the songs live are what’s going to capture the Shaky Knees crowd. It’s the type of music you get engulfed in, the type you forget where you are, it’s just you and those sounds overtaking you. The sound is so rich, and it’s those breezy grooves that are going to have the crowd dancing in the late afternoon warm winds. – MG
Phosphorescent – Ponce de Leon Stage – 5:45PM-6:45PM
Brooklyn resident Matthew Houck, via Athens, GA, via Huntsville, AL is Phosphorescent. Starting under the name Phosphorescent in 2003, Houck has released 6 albums amassing plenty of critical acclaim along the way, even drawing comparisons from Bob Dylan to Will Oldham. Playing a version of experimental alt-country over the years, Houck has shown to be a stellar songwriter. But his flame really began to burn bright with his 2009 tribute album to Willie Nelson, For Willie, and 2010’s Here’s to Taking It Easy. His last new release, Muchacho (Dead Oceans 2013) took his hype to new levels, ending up on year end list after year end list with songs like “Song For Zula” and “Ride On/Right On”. Since finishing touring behind that album, Phosphorescent has been relatively quite.
Phosphorescent is having a homecoming of sorts in Atlanta for Shaky Knees, returning to his southern roots. With a slew of festival dates announced over the summer, one could assume that means Houck is ready to get back on the road, and hopefully try out some new material. For any reunion, that can only mean a special set.
Perhaps it’s that Phosphorescent is not only stellar on record, but an amazing live act in general, but I can personally attest to some special Atlanta shows occurring over the last few years. Terminal West in 2013 really sticks out. Houck really delivers the passion in his set, he’s lived these songs, and he’s always surrounded by a talented group of musicians that really bring these songs alive. There’s an extra burst of energy live. And Houck is able to effortlessly switch between some of the slower burning, ethereal tracks and more upbeat tunes that can get the feet tapping; a veteran that’s able to keep the audience engaged and into every little intricacy of the music. And when Phosphorescent goes into “The Quotidian Beasts”, can we all just feel this together?
For those festival attendees just there to be seen and soak in the festival atmosphere, Walk The Moon is at 9:30, but for those there for what’s happening on the stages, Phosphorescent is a must catch act, not only for Day 2, but the whole weekend. – MG
For those that love a good playlist on the go, we’ve added these tracks to our Monomania playlist on Spotify for your listening pleasure: