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.
Shaky Knees Friday Day 1, 1:45PM time slot has two artists on the opposite side of the pop spectrum in Jukebox The Ghost at the Peachtree Stage, and Mitski at the Boulevard Stage. Check back daily as we explore each time slot.
Jukebox The Ghost – Peachtree Stage
By Adam Mernit
Those with the pleasure of attending the Shaky Knees Music Festival on Friday May 8th are afforded an opportunity that is almost impossible to pass up. Jukebox The Ghost, a power pop collective from the Washington D.C. Metro area, will be playing the Peachtree Stage at 1:45pm. If you end up scanning the Friday lineup looking for an artist that stands out among the many other notable artists performing on this day, look no further than Jukebox The Ghost.
When three George Washington University alumni crossed paths in 2003 and formed a band called Sunday Mail, not many knew that the relatively young music genre of power pop would eventually be turned on its head. Two years later in 2005, the trio called on the influences of Captain Beefheart and Vladimir Nabokov to bring them the new name of Jukebox The Ghost.
For only three musicians, Jukebox The Ghost emits a powerful, energetic sound both in live shows and in the recording studio. With Jesse Kristin on drums, Tommy Siegel on guitar and vocals, and Thornewill on piano and vocals, the group is able to develop multiple layers in each song with a relatively minimal set of equipment. There is a definite diversity in the music that they have produced throughout their four studio albums spanning from 2008 to 2015. Soft piano ballads are matched by strong multi-faceted grooves on each album. In some cases, the transition between intensities occurs within a single song. This is exemplified perfectly in the song “Dead” off of their 2012 album Safe Travels where the song is split down the middle. It begins with just over two minutes serene piano work and comforting vocals, transforming into a song that is given more of a body by heavy cymbal work on drums and emphatic guitar playing.
Over time, Jukebox The Ghost has increased the amount of music that leads music classification buffs to deem the band power pop. The softer songs have lessened and the band has incorporated more of a focus on the happy, uplifting music with speedy tempos and more attention to each instrument used individually. As the band has grown, they have been able to key on their own individual experiences to develop lyrical content and to explore more directions for their sound.
Overall, Jukebox The Ghost draws you in like a moth to a flame. It is seemingly impossible not to move throughout any given song that they play. If you find yourself at Jukebox The Ghost’s set at Shaky Knees, which would be a silly set to forgo, prepare yourself to be immersed in a level of energy that is not commonly seen in other artists of the like.
Mitski – Boulevard Stage
By Mike Gerry
Brooklyn based singer, Mitski is a post pop artist who quite frankly, doesn’t give a fuck. Ok it’s not that she actually doesn’t give a fuck, she is just an artist that knows herself, isn’t going to comprise her artistic integrity or values to make it big. She is who she is, take or leave it. Just follow her on the various social media realms and get a look into who Mitski is. Have a real conversation about the world with her. She is open, honest and direct, much like her lyrics. It’s refreshing, and the mark of a great artist who is making real music for your ears.
Mitski’s music is like a therapy session lyrically, drawing from folk and Japanese pop her parents played her, to adding some fuzzed out loud guitar on top, making her a must check out act at this year’s Shaky Knees Festival. Armed with a pink bass guitar, Mitski has been really catching buzz behind her third album, Bury Me At Makeout Creek. Fresh off destroying this year’s SXSW, the buzz around Mitski is kicking into high gear, recently even being named “10 Artist’s You Need to Know” by Rolling Stone.
Whether it’s shredding through some loud pop, or slowing it down using her incredible vocal range to convey all the feelings, Mitski is one of those acts at Shaky Knees, and early enough, that you should get up close and give her your full attention. There is no doubt this set is going to strike a chord into those looking for honest music that can help work through the daily grind of life. Go on the journey with Mitski and discover a favorite new artist at 1:45PM on the Boulevard Stage at Shaky Knees, you won’t regret it.
Check out these artists on the Shaky Knees Spotify Playlist