Shaky Knees Death Match: John Grant vs. Two Gallants vs. Tennis


With the 2015 version of Shaky Knees Festival‘s official schedule being announced, now it’s time to start planning out your own personal schedule. 

For those difficult decisions, we present to you the Shaky Knees Death Match. We will have each band in every time slot pitted against each other. You make the decision on who you must catch. Check back daily as we explore each time slot.

Shaky Knees Friday Day 1, 2:30PM time slot is quite the difficult choice for us with John Grant at the Piedmont Stage, Two Gallants at the Ponce De Leon Stage and Tennis at the Buford Highway Stage. All three bands are worthy of your time and ears. Which should it be?

John Grant – Piedmont Stage


By Mike Gerry

Listen to John Grant‘s track GMF from his 2013 album Pale Green Ghosts. After immediately taking to this song, go see him play the Piedmont Stage at 2:30PM. After all, he is the “Greatest Motherfucker that you are ever gonna meet”. The end.

Ok you want more? Listen to his track Glacier also off the same excellent 2013 album. The end.

Alright a little more, John Grant is a brilliant songwriter with a wonderful baritone voice that can strike a hole right through you. Grant began his career as the frontman for the Colorado based shoegaze, dream pop, and alt-country band The Czars, once signed by Bella Union. After their breakup Grant moved to New York and released his own solo album in 2010 also on Bella Union. His backing band for the album? Midlake! Oh and Sinead O’Connor also covered the title track from that album Queen Of Denmark on her latest album and also brings back up vocals to his latest album Pale Green Ghosts. While Grant may not be a household name, the list goes on and on and just gives you an inkling of how well respected this guy is.

Grant has a cynical writing style. He is quirky, but writing about real subjects, not just your everyday love songs. He is smart and puts a lot of thought into his world, and bringing that world to us as he sees it. Sure we all love pop and rock ‘n’ roll, but how many ways can we rehash that. So if you are looking for something a little different, something a little more real and want to discover someone great, John Grant is there for you at 2:30. Let him take you to Outer Space.

Plus we all get to be a little angry with Grant, cussing right along with him:

“Don’t you pay them fuckers as they say “No, never mind”
They don’t give two shits about you. It’s the blind leading the blind”

While you are at it, pick up his latest release “John Grant and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra” and get a good sense of what Grant is all about. Oh man if only he had an orchestra with him at Shaky Knees, this time slot would be over. But alas, I am pumped to finally see Grant live, so should you be.

Two Gallants – Ponce De Leon Stage

two gallants

By Taylor James

If Deertick’s music were associated with being specifically for people who have a decent buzz going and want to party a little, then Two Gallants’ music is for people who are drunk, angry and ready to destroy some sort of status quo. I sometimes tell myself, if I were allowed a really, really guilty pleasure, I might actually enjoy Mumford & Sons, maybe, but it is never necessary for me to pursue that inclination too deeply because I have Two Gallants to listen to.

Having gotten all metaphors and analogies out of my system now, Two Gallants is a band that needs to be checked out Friday at the Shaky Knees Festival when they take the Ponce De Leon stage at 2:30. Two Gallants first caught my attention when I was a tired, cynical English major trying to study Post-Modernism at a Baptist college in the Midwest. I was killing time in the campus coffee shop, talking with a fellow academic, who asked me if I had heard that “punky-folk band” that was named after James Joyce’s short story Two Gallants. I had not heard of this band at the time, but any artist bold enough to associate themselves with the writing of Joyce immediately struck me as worth looking into. Shockingly, I was not disappointed at all with what I discovered. Two Gallants are a dirty, vicious, striking folk-duo who lace their music with edge and a surprising amount of beauty at the same time. The self-association with Joyce is warranted in my book.

Two Gallants have been playing music together since 2002 when both members of the duo were twenty-one years of age. Needless to say, in the thirteen years they have been touring and recording together, their act has been honed to perfection. On Two Gallants’ most recent album, We Are Undone, they tone down the folk elements ever so slightly and amp up the rock’n’roll. It is a mildly new direction for the band, and another very solid release from Two Gallants.

Tennis – Buford Highway Stage


By Evan Yerega

What exactly is going on at 2:30 on Friday at the Buford stage?  Is it a Cream cover band?  Wimbledon tryouts?  I’m afraid not…but rest assured, it’s the supremely talented husband & wife combo of Tennis!  No rackets required, just a fondness for easily-digestible, light and airy indie rock.

So who is Tennis?  Tennis surfaced in 2010, with a surf rock sound and throwback 60’s girl-group melodies that sounds pretty familiar nowadays, but didn’t so much back then.  Tennis was formed by singer Alaina Moore and guitarist Patrick Riley, who sailed down the Atlantic coast and decided to make an album about it.  Since then, they’ve moved past their humble (and, to be fair, somewhat precocious) beginnings, added a drummer, and attracted famous drummers Patrick Carney (Black Keys) and Jim Eno (Spoon) to produce their second (‘Young & Old’) and third (‘Ritual in Repeat’) albums, respectively.  Through each album, their sound has become fuller, without sacrificing the lightness of the whole ordeal.  Just try to listen to one of their songs without a) smiling and b) thinking of a white, sunny beach.  Good luck with that.

If you like…

  •         Best Coast
  •         She & Him
  •         Lo-Fi sound
  •         Sunshine
  •         James Blake (when you don’t like any of the above and just want to get a primo spot for him)

…then you hightail it to Tennis on Friday afternoon.

If you dislike…

  •         Beaches
  •         Happiness
  •         Pete Sampras (not really)

…then you’re probably better off somewhere else.  But really, who really dislikes those things?

Three songs that will get you there: ‘Petition,’ ‘Marathon,’ ‘Night Vision’

In short – Tennis is the perfect way to fully appreciate the (hopefully) sunny Friday afternoon, while being light enough to save room for the heavyweights later on.  It’s like they were put on this Earth to play afternoon sets at summer festivals.  Anyone for Tennis?  Wouldn’t that be nice?  Indeed.

Check out these artists on the Shaky Knees Spotify Playlist


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