Tame Impala | Photo c/o aLIVE Coverage
Before I get into any sort of recap or review, I just want it to be known that the overarching theme of this festival seemed to be “spread the love.” From the artists we spoke to, the vibe of the crowd, and the geographical embrace that the south offers, we left feeling that music truly does connect the masses.
I decided to make the trek to the third annual Shaky Knees Festival this year for the first time because the line-up spoke for itself, and the public couldn’t stop speaking about it. So as any good, diligent indie writer would, I took note and left the steamy streets of NYC for a torching hot lot in Fourth Ward Park, ATL. A fan of Bonnaroo (I think you either fall into the 'Chella Princess or a 'Roo Paupette categories), I noted the unpretentious crowds and stage accessibility were akin to that of my favorite farm. The bathroom lines were short, the beer lines shorter, and when the sun went down, with an ice-cold Strongbow cider in hand – the grassy parts of the park could be considered heaven on earth, or at least a hippie's haven.
The Strokes | Photo c/o aLIVE Coverage
Subjective to say I know, but the sets were, indie-wise, inarguably epic. With some big names such as The Strokes (always “sound just like their record!” – honestly heard this from multiple people in the crowd), Brand New (be still my [high school] heart), Tame Impala (synth + lights + Kevin Parker’s brilliant mind = best Sunday night ever), Ryan Adams being Ryan Adams (he played “Come Pick Me Up” !) and The Avett Brothers who are always a folk-rock tour de force.
Tame Impala | Photo c/o aLIVE Coverage
In addition to seeing them stage-side, we got to sit down and interview some great acts: Xavier Rudd re: his new album Nanna and band The United Nations, Milky Chance about dancing their way from Germany and YouTube into the spotlight, The Mowgli’s and their messages of positivity, and Jukebox the Ghost about their forthcoming summer tour with Ingrid Michaelson.
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Preservation Hall Jazz Band | Photo c/o aLIVE Coverage
Other acts worth mentioning are Neutral Milk Hotel, who are playing their – gasp! – alleged last tour ever; Preservation Hall Jazz Band that wore SUITS in the scorching heat and didn’t miss a beat to Jackson Five’s “ABC,” et al; Wilco who are some of the best in the biz - up there with "Jesus, Etc."; punk-to-folk favorite Frank Turner – who always delivers a killer live show; Dr. Dog for their ever eclectic set that goes from funky indie-rock to supersonic synth and then back again; and The Sheepdogs because they performed some good ol' fashioned rock 'n roll and then slummed it with us in the crowd for Dr. Dog, Miller Lite’s in hand (unpretentious x10). Also a special shout out to Panda Bear’s graphics – it was a little bit early for the trippy nature, but it was still transcending. Or maybe it was just the heat.
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Panda Bear | Photo c/o aLIVE Coverage
There were a TON of other acts that I would have loved to see if I had a clone, so just bear in mind the only truly bad thing about this festival was having to choose between favorite artists. We'll be posting the aforementioned interviews this week so check back in to get to know more minds behind the music.