SK16 Day 1 Decisions: Slowdive, The Kills, or All Them Witches

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Shaky Knees 2016 is upon us, ready to kick in gear next 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.  Whether it’s two of your favorite bands playing at the same time, or you are looking for something new to discover that you may not know yet, there’s always tough decisions to be made. 

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 slot on both Friday and Sunday. Yet on Saturday, the time slots are staggered around more. Depending on how you look at it and ease of getting stage to stage, there may be more opportunity to bounce around to catch multiple sets. We’ve combed through the Friday and Sunday time slots to bring to you what we deemed the toughest choices of the festival for the non-headliners. These time slots cover bands that you may not know and need to hear about, or perhaps have multiple bands playing that could offer more crossover appeal to fans of the other bands playing at the same time. 

For those difficult decisions, we present to you our yearly Shaky Knees Death Match. We will have each band in the time slots we’ve chosen, pitted against each other. You make the decision on who you must catch. Keep checking back throughout the week as we offer our thoughts on those decisions and our must catch acts for Saturday.

Shaky Knees Friday Day 1, 8:15PM time slot has three artists each with their own unique spin on rock ‘n’ roll music. Now it’s time to decide, which set will you catch?

Slowdive – Ponce de Leon Stage:

Slowdive

Slowdive

Slowdive is an English breed shoegaze/dream pop band that’s been around since the genre’s beginning. The band. who reunited back in 2014, were clearly ahead of their time with ethereal vocals against the loose, distorted riffs of the guitar and airy, soaring synth. Slowdive purposely wraps you up in their rich sounds of the layered guitar and synth creating a dream world that the genre is known for.  

With Slowdive reuniting to play live in 2014, it has me excited to see the band dust off its pedal boards and send the Shaky Knees crowd soaring into its powerful, entrancing melodies. Slowdive has been producing music since 1989 and has three studio albums, and five EPs under its belt. The band’s success was short-lived after press and record labels felt the genre sounded too “middle class,” trying to make way for the ever popular 90’s grunge era. Slowdive’s influence can be heard in any shoegaze and dream pop band that produces music for today’s generation. It’s crazy to listen to a band from twenty years ago, creating music that could be marketed so easily today. Slowdive produces beautiful melodies that can send you floating into an imaginative world of sensory overload.  

Fridays 8:15-time slot might pose difficulty to some people to choose from, and Slowdive shouldn’t be looked to as a push off band. Their set is worth considering, especially if the gaze happens to be your steelo. One can only hope that their live versions of “Machine Gun” and “Souvlaki Space Station” from their 1993 album Souvlaki will be as infectiously enchanting as their recorded versions. – LP

The Kills – Boulevard Stage:

The Kills

The Kills

Indie rockers, The Kills have been gaining major momentum in the last few years with an ever-expanding fan base. With their first studio album in 5 years, Ash & Ice due out in early June this year, The Kills have announced a slew of tour dates behind it – the third of which will be at Shaky Knees.

The duo of vocalist Allison Mosshart (formerly of Dead Weather) and guitarist Jamie Hince have been bringing it hard all years. Going by the names “VV” and “Hotel” tour with a drummer so no worries about canned support – the live feel is there in spades.

After a painful accident, and six subsequent surgeries, Hince has had to relearn guitar but it appears he’s still got it. Their live show isn’t to be missed – with an energy that screams hard rock more than indie – Mosshart is known climb on monitors and connect with entire audience – making even larger venues feel like a small club.

Check out the super cool, unexpectly choreographed video for Doing It To Death  – RF

All Them Witches – Buford Highway Stage:

ATW1pan2webRGBNashville natives All Them Witches are anything but ordinary, they are a badass band that kicks out the doors. The band effortlessly weaves in and out of everything from psychedelia, Southern rock to gothic Americana. All Them Witches released Dying Surfer Meets His Maker back in October via New West Records with a slightly more downplayed sound, yet still quite compelling.

All Them Witches have put together a genre-melding music that doesn’t seem to draw a line on where they will decide to take you; it’s wildly unpredictable that bobs and weaves in and out.   Dying Surfer Meets His Maker takes a step back from its preceding hard rock albums bringing a more transfixed indie rock sound with a slight bluesy undertone. All Them Witches bleed everything that is right with American rock and roll, giving you the right amount of intensity to peak your interest and appreciate its harder rock roots. The band’s continual working ability to interchange from one genre to the next is the reason you want to see them live. Their music is loud and intense leaving no real room to comfort you as it wants to kick your teeth in at times, and help you to rock the fuck out.  From their soaring hard rocker guitar licks to the psychedelic trip the bands leads you into, this is what makes them a clear standout.  

All Them Witches take the Buford Highway stage Friday evening, and I can’t wait to see them caress Shaky Knees with their gothic style rock and roll. I’m sure their set will tear the roof off the joint if and when they dive into “When God Comes Back” and “Heavy/Like a Witch.”  Fridays 8:15-time slot is rather hard pressed, but if you choose “All Them Witches” you will not be disappointed in their set! – LP

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:

Contributors: Lisa Parish (LP), Ryan Fleisher (RF)

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Mike Gerry

Head music fiend at OpenEars Music

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