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 5:15PM has three really outstanding bands, one of the toughest choices of the festival. But it would be hard to catch them all. Now it’s time to decide, which set will you catch?
Houndmouth – Ponce de Leon Stage – 5:15PM-6:15PM:
Houndmouth released their highly anticipated second album, Little Neon Limelight, in March of 2015 via Rough Trade Records. The wait was completely worth it. The album’s production value is outstanding, which is no wonder with award winning producer David Cobb, who has worked behind the board with the likes of Sturgill Simpson and Chris Stapleton. The Indiana native’s songs have all the soul and vigor one could need. Each one is giving the perfect rhythm that intertwines to reveal a powerful embodiment of Americana.
Houndmouth provides bluesy, foot-stomping soulfulness that takes them away from the tired traditional sounds of their genre. The band offers a fresher take with the addition of Memphis styled rock and roll roots. The lyrics from this quartet have a great folk like charisma, bringing a story filled journey with songs like the crowd pleasers “Sedona” and “For No One.” They push forth honest and relatable lyrics against their compositions of indie folk-rock.
Their Sunday evening set will be nothing short of effervescent, filling the evening with their trademark four-part choir styled harmonies and soaring guitars against the Atlanta skyline. This is Houndmouth’s second time at Shaky Knees and rest assured their 5:15 set time will be amazing. – LP
The Black Angels – Boulevard Stage – 5:15PM-6:15PM:
The Black Angels fuzzy brand of neo-psych rock is well primed to appeal to festival audiences in the wake of Tame Impala making psychedelia cool again on a major scale. The general umbrella of psychedelia is the only reason one would mention the Austin band in the same breath as Kevin Parker and company though. The Black Angels infuse their hallucinatory jams with a scuzzier sounding helping of garage rock that gives it just enough crunch and punch to make them a wise selection for a festival concertgoer.
While they have enough muscle and hook to appeal to folks not already familiar with their music, I do wonder how it’ll translate to a stage in the late afternoon sun. Having only seen them in small clubs where the walls and ceilings were bathed in an array of trippy, hallucination inducing light patterns, them having full control of an attendee’s sensory experience is certainly in their favor as a headliner as opposed to a later afternoon/early evening festival act.
That being said, cooking in the later afternoon Southern sun can be a hallucinatory experience in its own right. Blissing out in a sun stoned state while getting hit with a tsunami of reverb might be just what the doctor ordered for that magical hour where the day fights to hang on and the approaching evening sharpens your senses and brings that second wind on. If loud rock and roll guitars are your bag, The Black Angels should be a slam dunk choice for you over Houndmouth’s fairly pedestrian folk rock and Nothing’s more introspective shoegaze hum. – CC
Nothing – Boulevard Stage – 5:15PM-6:15PM:
Philadelphia based band Nothing goes up against Houndmouth and The Black Angels in a late Sunday afternoon spot that’s really only down to a choice between Nothing and The Black Angels in my opinion. Their newest album Tired of Tomorrow comes out on Friday so you’ll have a grand total of two days to familiarize yourself with their latest offering – one that’ll likely make up the majority of the setlist. They’ve released four songs off of Tired of Tomorrow though so you can get a bit of a head start. These new songs show the band flexing their range a bit more from 2014’s excellent release Guilty of Everything.
Lead single “Vertigo Flowers” shows tinges of pop sensibility peeking out for the first time in their recorded output. It’s still pop swimming in swirling guitars, but shows an ability to write light hooks and stronger melodies than have appeared on earlier releases. The grimly titled “Eaten By Worms” finds them in more familiar territory with squalls of churning guitar and dirge like piano (and a grisly and really weird video with a Michael Jackson dream sequence to match the sound.)
I’ve found myself particularly drawn to “The Dead are Dumb,” which was released a mere 10 days before the album’s release and finds elements of post-rock interwoven with classic, slow, hazy shoegaze guitar and fever dream vocals. Of the three bands in this time slot, I feel like you’ll get the most sonic diversity and emotional range out of Nothing. Having seen all three live before, I’d have a hard time passing on a set by Nothing knowing the awesome power and sublime, fragile beauty they’re capable of conjuring and shifting between on a moment’s notice. – CC
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: