Shaky Knees 2016 is upon us, ready to kick in gear this 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 few days 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. Saturday, the times are staggered around more, so we’ve offered our 6 Must Catch Sets for Saturday. 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. Check here for the time slots we’ve already covered.
Shaky Knees Friday Day 3 time slot at 2:15PM hits a stump with another tough decisions. It’s hard to miss either of these bands, but ultimately it comes down to how you like your rock ‘n’ roll. Now it’s time to decide, which set will you catch?
Frightened Rabbit – Peachtree Stage – 2:15PM-3:15PM:
Straight outta Scotland, Frightened Rabbit are solidly established indie rockers that have been thriving in Glasgow since 2003. Their popularity in the UK has steadily built over the past two decades with the release of five full length albums. Most recently Painting of a Panic Attack was released in 2016 and showcases a bit darker, more synthesizer-rich side of the band than their past four releases. Recorded after the departure of a major band contributor, keyboardist and guitarist Gordon Skene, and being the second of the band’s five albums to be produced in the U.S.– the new direction of the sound makes sense, and I really like the turn they took with this.
When not exploring the edgier sounds of their new releases, Frightened Rabbit embodies that classic UK indie rock sound with driving rhythms and classic alt rock melodies. They add clever, relatable lyrics that definitely get weird in all the right ways (check out “Backyard Skulls”). Lead singer Scott Hutchison’s rich Scottish accent is at the heart of all of their tunes, and they can be upbeat, though their songs explore some serious themes. It’s not overly optimistic, but the music of Frightened Rabbit manages to project hope. Their live performances are polished in the way that it’s clear that these guys have been playing together for years, and their natural chemistry is a true highlight of this band. That chemistry really comes across as a kind of realness that you don’t get with a lot of groups.
This show that is not to be missed by those that 1) want to dance 2) feel a lil’ emo sometimes 3) like a good Scottish accent. If in any doubt, check out their seriously sexy newest single “Get Out”. Essentially, Frightened Rabbit is creative, fun, and a little weird—just like you and me! – KD
The Orwells – Piedmont Stage – 2:15PM-3:15PM:
The Orwells are an American rock ‘n’ roll band out of the suburbs of Chicago ready to kick Sunday into gear with their dirty, jangly rock. The band is bringing back good ole fashioned raucous rock music to the forefront and with an already legendary live show in their arsenal for such a young band, Shaky Knees is the perfect place to catch them.
The Orwells have released two albums since forming in 2009 while 9th graders in high school including their 2012 debut, Remember When. On their sophomore album, 2014’s Disgraceland, the band was still in high school when early versions of these songs were written. It’s that youthful exuberance that makes the band so compelling. Whether you are just some young punk, or looking to release your inner kid, The Orwells are the band for you. Throughout their catalog, the band is full of punk anthems that will have your fists in the air, letting loose on the Centennial Park grounds. Throughout their songs, the band hits on debauched nights, sloppy hook-ups and the kind of trouble you let yourself get into when you’re bored, broke and barely legal. Really what could be better for a festival setting?
Simply listening to their music, you can tell The Orwells are a band to catch in person yourself. This is the type of band that is going to unleash the fury whether the crowd wants it or not, seducing a crowd into joining in their own party. The band brings an extreme energy that can’t be replicated through an Instagram video or Snapchat. These kids are raw, the real fucking deal, inspiring Consequence Of Sound to write, “frontman Mario Cuomo has tapped into something special, carnal, and almost evil.” Occurring on the Piedmont stage early in the afternoon on Sunday, The Orwells will bring one of the best damn sets of the whole festival. When they go into “Who Needs You”, I’m going to be right there in the middle for what’s going to be one of the most memorable songs of the festival. I suggest you meet me there. – 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: