Shaky Knees Death Match: Spiritualized vs. Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenues vs. Panda Bear


Shaky Knees Festival is only a few days away, 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 Sunday Day 3, 5:45PM is a tough one with Spiritualized at the Piedmont Stage, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenues at the Ponce De Leon Stage and Panda Bear at the Buford Highway Stage.

Spiritualized – Piedmont Stage


By Taylor James

Spiritualized have been doing their thing for a good number of years now, and since the beginning what Spiritualized does has been amazing. Jason Pierce, the frontman and mastermind of Spiritualized, has been conceptualizing spacey rock’n’roll jams under this particular moniker since 1990. Spiritualized offer seemingly straight-forward, classic sounding rock songs, but there is always a twist. Take what Neutral Milk Hotel did for folk and apply it to psychedelic rock and you have Spiritualized. Whether it is an ambient minute or two of beautiful noise breaking a song apart down the middle or a spacey drone, Spiritualized is a band that both caters to rocking out and spacing out.  Thus, it is very fitting Jason Pierce adopted the name Jason Spaceman.

When Spiritualized takes the Piedmont stage at 5:45 on Sunday, make sure to allow it to be one of the last sets you observe. It will be one to remember. Because Spiritualized are not for lacking in emotional resonance either. Their most recent album, Sweet Heart Sweet Light, was written while Jason Pierce was undergoing treatment for liver cancer. The pain he felt can be heard all over the album as well as the eventual triumph. Like many conceptual, heady bands you would largely expect Spiritualized to sing nothing with feeling, but when you see them on Sunday at Shaky Knees Festival, you will realize you are getting the best of both worlds, concept and emotion.

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue – Ponce De Leon Stage

Trombone Shorty

By Kristen Jones

Trombone Shorty also known as Troy Michael Andrews is the man. This New Orleans native started playing the trombone at the age of 4 and was touring internationally at the age of 12. Not only has this dude been nominated for a Grammy and toured with Lenny Kravitz, he performed at the White House in honor of Black History month.

Having put out 10 albums, I’d say he knows what’s up. Over the years, Trombone Shorty has developed an elaborate style of music. He infuses jazz, R&B, rock, rap, and funk. He’s one of those musicians that can span across any generation or genre. Because of that, he brings people together through music and I definitely have appreciation for that. It also usually makes for a pretty fun, diverse crowd. His music is perfect in the festival style atmosphere which I guess could be assumed since he is from New Orleans. Plus, who doesn’t love some horn?

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him at Bonnaroo and Southern Ground in 2013, and at a free little jazz fest in Norfolk, Virginia. This dude and his rad band put on an incredible show! The energy he blows through that horn flows right into the crowd. This is definitely a must see act. Plus, he covers Green Day… come on now.. that’s some pretty fun icing on the cake!

Hurricane Season Live on KEXP

Brain Stew Cover

Panda Bear – Buford Highway Stage

panda bear

By Adam Mernit

“That guy from Animal Collective” does not even come close to answering the question of “who is Panda Bear?” Panda Bear is so much more than just the commonly-associated vocal presence of Animal Collective, and his set on Sunday May 10th at the Shaky Knees Festival’s Buford Highway Stage is sure to turn some heads.

Noah Benjamin Lennox, now Panda Bear, spent his early life in Roland Park, the most affluent, clean-cut neighborhood in Baltimore City. Teenage years filled with soccer, basketball, drawing, piano, and cello would paint a pretty normal picture for this stage of Panda Bear’s development. After bringing together childhood friend Josh Dibb, now Deakin, and high school friends Dave Portner and Brian Weitz, now Avery Tare and Geologist, through their individually produced recordings, Panda Bear would be the catalyst in the formation of Animal Collective. The group progressed to collaborative production and differently arranged performances, with each member taking up different responsibilities in each performance.

In 2000, a move to New York City would spur Panda Bear’s creative development, now positioned in a setting where the four members of the collective could breathe, discover, experiment, and eventually record. It was not until after 2003, when Animal Collective’s first major release came about, that Panda Bear had taken thoughts of a solo career seriously.

The years between 2004 and 2007 would prove to be some of the most chaotic times in the lives of Panda Bear, Geologist, Deakin, and Avery Tare. Despite the rapid-fire releases of some of the band’s most notable albums in this short time period, tumultuous tour experiences, the looming influence of graduate school and career choices, and various other factors led to a hiatus for Animal Collective as a whole. However, 2007 would be the onset of Panda Bear’s full-on solo career, with the highly regarded release of of Person Pitch.

Panda Bear has drawn on so many different aspects of his life to channel into his melodic, artistic, psychedelic-infused work. Life in the slow-moving European town of Lisbon, Portugal would provide the perfect creative setting for the release of Tomboy, allowing Panda Bear to focus on what people and events have molded the course of his life. With awe-inspiring songs like “You Can Count On Me” conveying the value that Panda Bear places on his marriage to fashion designer Fernanda Pereira and “Last Night at the Jetty” offering acceptance and forgiveness to past collaborators whose choice of career over music had negatively impacted Panda Bear, each listen provides a little bit more insight into the inner workings of the artist’s mind.

On Sunday at the Buford Highway Stage, Panda Bear’s setlist will most likely contain a majority of songs from his newest release, Panda Bear Meets the Grimm Reaper. Panda Bear has claimed that this album is heavily influenced by the old-school elements of boom bap rap. In using a faster pace with a consistent drum loop combined with his classic and elegant synthesizer work, the album is a departure from Panda Bear’s norm but still maintains many of the stylistic features that make his sound so innovative. This is album is equally if not more reflective than his other releases, as we can tell that Panda Bear has reached a point in his life where he feels that a lot of questions need answering. He is able to take one theme and transcend that theme across multiple facets and time periods in his life. The song Come To Your Senses, which can be read as an acknowledgement of his responsibilities as a parent and that he cannot take chances in life with a family that is dependent on him, is juxtaposed with the song Tropic of Cancer, which reflects on the passing of his own father. In a combined 13 minutes and 37 seconds between the two songs, Panda Bear brings the concept of fatherhood full circle and approaches it from various different angles.

Depth, layers, reflection, and wisdom are just some adjectives that accurately describe Panda Bear as an artist. From his early years experimenting with Animal Collective in a screen-enclosed porch in the backwoods of rural Maryland all the way up to present day, Panda Bear has created an incomparable musical experience in everything that he touches. On Sunday at 5:45pm at the Buford Highway Stage, make sure to park yourself in one of the front rows and let Panda Bear’s music take over your senses.

Check out these artists on the Shaky Knees Spotify Playlist


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