Shaky Knees Death Match: Pixies vs. Brand New vs. James Blake


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. This year a fifth stage has been announced which means up to 3 bands will all being playing at the same time. This gives us even more difficult decisions than year’s past. Luckily the first two years of Shaky Knees made it easy to get around and catch multiple acts in one time slot if you desire.

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

Today we start with one of the biggest decisions on Day 1, the 8:15PM time slot with the Pixies at the Piedmont Stage, Brand New at the Ponce De Leon Stage, and James Blake at the Buford Highway Stage. Check back daily as we explore each time slot. 

Pixies – Piedmont Stage


By Charles Worthy

What are you going to do? Not see the Pixies? I mean, come on, man! I will admit that the time slot here could prove to be a difficult one for some people, as both Brand New and James Blake have pretty loyal followings, but Black Francis and crew are almost single-handedly responsible for the success of pretty much every other band at this wonderful festival, and I’d be stunned if any of them told you any differently. Hell, even the guys in Brand New would probably tell you to go see the Pixies instead.

The long and short of it is that the Pixies are among the most influential groups in history, and you have the opportunity to get up close and personal with them on a Friday night. Just do it. If you need to convince your friends, tell them they play that one song at the end of Fight Club. And then start your own fight club with them for not wanting to go see the Pixies in the first place. Just kidding, violence is bad. You could totally throw an “accidental” elbow at them while you’re rocking out to “U-Mass” if you wanted to though. 

Brand New – Ponce De Leon Stage

brand new

By Taylor James

Friday at the Shaky Knees music festival all your hopes and dreams will be coming true if you in any way gravitate towards emo and its current revivalism. Brand New will be taking the Ponce De Leon stage at 8:15. Brand New has always been an enigma in the truest sense of the word. For a band that seems to play it pretty straight, within the general confines of a genre that often times takes a decent amount of flack from the music elite, Brand New has always seemed to be one of those bands that is universally admired. It doesn’t seem to matter what an individual’s musical preferences are, they could strictly listen to country western and show-tunes, when Brand New is mentioned, a resounding, “I LOVE THEM!” is all I am used to hearing. Thus, surely due to the universality Brand New possesses, their shows always sell out in a snap of the finger.

Brand New just recently dropped a new single, Mene. It is the first new song to be gifted to the public by Brand New in the last six years, and of course, the direction they are headed seems quite promising. The single manifests itself as a hybrid of what has made Brand New such an interesting band to follow in the past. The overt irony of Deja Entendu, the craftsmanship of The Devil and God, and the grueling, hardcore tinges of Daisy all make an appearance on Mene. Screamed throughout the chorus is the line, “We don’t feel anything,” but with Brand New this is obviously not the case. They clearly feel a lot of things, and thankfully for anyone who has ever listened to and enjoyed Brand New, they display those feels in spades in their music and their performances.

So, go ahead and do yourself a favor and check out Brand New’s set at Shaky Knees because, in all honesty, there is not a better time to see them, and there is never a guarantee that another chance will present itself to check Brand New out. And, if you haven’t been a fan of Brand New in the past, jump on the bandwagon. Not only do I guarantee it will be worth your while, but you will probably make a lot of friends over it as well. 

James Blake – Buford Highway Stage

james blake SKBy Sean Feinerman

Listening to London-based producer James Blake is almost a ‘genreless’ journey. There a doses of R&B and electronic, but the sound is more complex that. Musically he has the mindset of some hip-hop producers, his lower range is reminiscent of Sam Smith and the haunting spirit of his music will bring you back to the first time you listened to Radiohead. His show at Terminal West is sold out on Thursday night, but the opportunity is there to catch him on the opening night of the festival.

With two rock bands, The Pixies and Brand New, on at the same time, if you are looking for something a little different, you should make an effort to catch the Mercury Prize nominated artist at the Buford Highway Stage. There is a reason James Blake is opening the festival as the opening Late Night Show/pre party. Blake has been creating buzz for years across two albums and multiple EPS and covers. With what’s sure to be a killer lights show and Blake’s high falsetto grabbing the crowd’s attention, this is sure to be one of the most talked about sets of the festival.



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