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, 1:00PM time slot has three great up and coming bands that could easily make your early festival experience. All three bands are worthy of your time and ears. Which should it be?
Saintseneca – Ponce de Leon Stage:
Saintseneca is a folk rock band from Ohio that started to become widely popular after the release of their exceptional album Dark Arc back in 2014 via ANTI Records. Without hitting the breaks, the band’s follow up, Such Things, released in October of 2015 (ANTI), takes the same enchanting take on alt-folk rock.
Saintseneca brings such a beautiful take on the storytelling of music. The band provides something aesthetically pleasing that’s charming and moody while adding the right amount of kick to keep you interested. Such Things has a richness that strips away anything too complicated, leaving you imagining about life’s what if’s and future possibilities. Saintseneca is a band you are bound to become impressed by their pleasantly righteous sound from the selection of instruments that some people may have never seen played live before. The alluring sound speaks loudly about their beautifully woven music.
Saintseneca will be one of the must sees of Shaky Knees. The band’s 1:30-time slot on Friday will be a great start to usher in the festivities of the weekend. Saintseneca’s set will be nothing short of fantastic, giving the right mix of storyteller like lyrics that marry into the rock inspired guitar and folk-styled mandolin. This is one set to look forward to on the Ponce de Leon stage with songs like “Happy Alone”, “Fed Up With Hunger” and “Bad Ideas.“ Let Saintseneca get your Shaky Knees started on the right note. – LP
Foxing – Boulevard Stage:
Fans of bands like Sigur Ros, Explosions in the Sky, and Local Natives, get over to the Boulevard Stage early Friday at Shaky Knees to check out the great band Foxing. The St. Louis based post-rock band is ready to provide a journey, and the festival stage might just be the perfect place.
Touring behind their sophomore album, Dealer (Oct. 2015 Triple Crown Records), Foxing delivers an emotional punch with their music, providing introspective lyrics as if everything is fleeting. Not only are the lyrics deep, but like some of the bands mentioned above, Foxing mixes large, steady drum beats that will sail through the crowd, while combing guitars that pierce right through you, ringing loud and encompassing those within range. The music speaks, even without the lyrics. And the guitar riffs can be stinging.
This is one of those sets that if your chatty friend behind you gets out of your ears and let’s you enjoy the music, Foxing will pick you up and not let you loose. This may just be one of those epic early festival sets, no point in hearing about it later from friends. Foxing plays the Boulevard Stage on Friday at 1PM. – MG
The Japanese House – Buford Highway Stage:
One of the more interesting sets early Friday at Shaky Knees could be from one of the UK’s hottest young up and coming acts in 20 year old Londoner Amber Bain, aka The Japanese House. The solo alt-pop moniker shows Bain experimenting with dreamy futuristic sounds that draws comparisons to Imogen Heap, Bon Iver, and James Blake, earning her critical acclaim for the two EPs she released over 2015. Both EPs were produced by Bain herself alongside The 1975 members George Daniel and Matthew Healy.
Bain delivers layered, rich vocals that are quite swoon worthy; her soft, toned down beats will have the crowds swaying along to the music that’s both spell-binding and translucent. The Japanese House is the perfect set to go enjoy on a beautiful afternoon if you are looking to be captivated by an artist that can build a song right before your eyes looping the music together. Using vocoders, synthesizers, samplers, guitars, and more, Amber Bain is ready to strike a chord into the Shaky Knees crowd. – MG
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: