Can’t make it some festivals this summer? No worries, WIUX will be here all summer with recaps from someone of the coolest, most innovative and fun festivals throughout the summer. C.J. Lamborn and Jared Peterson were in Atlanta the weekend after finals ended to enjoy Atlanta’s Shaky Knees festival. Here’s what they saw and heard.
Shaky Knees Fest Day 1:
When we arrived on the festival grounds of Central Park in Atlanta at 12:30 p.m. the crowd had already arrived and had taken their seats in line under the trees lining the park to escape the sun.
Once we were inside the festival, the crowd that had seemed tired and depressed in line, immediately livened up and people were cheering and clapping because they had made it in finally.
Our first stop was the Peachtree Stage where Surfer Blood was performing. The Florida based band had the first slot and yet were able to attract a pretty large crowd. And a loyal one at that since the crowd was singing along to almost every song. When the band started playing their first hit “Floating Vibes” the crowd erupted in applause and hollering, as that was the song they were all waiting for.
After our time at the Peachtree Stage we migrated over to next stage over to see Haerts at the Piedmont Stage. I had not known much about much about the pop band but I heard they were worth checking out. I’m glad I did because lead singer Nini Fabi is absolutely amazing. Not only was her voice extremely impressive, but her stage presence was unquestionable. She commanded the stage with a confidence of someone with years of experience performing live, and her outfit was also pretty darn cute.
After that I went around asking people who they were looking forward to the most, and surprisingly a majority of the responses were Mac Demarco. I’m not saying I don’t think Mac Demarco is good or popular, it just surprised me most people didn’t say The Strokes or The Pixies.
While asking people their opinions I was approached by a fellow college radio blogger for Georgia State University, Donte. He informed us of his university’s blog Students In The City, so I just wanted to give a little shout out to him and WRAS.
I then returned to the Peachtree Stage to see English rock band The Kooks. The crowd for the rockers was rather large, obviously, and they were eager. People were sharing opinions (as well as other things) and the vibe in the air was great! Luke Pritchard, the lead singer, didn’t hold back when it came to using his sex appeal shaking his hips, winking and pointing at the crowd, and leaning forward with his microphone. When “Bad Habit” started playing festival goers began to sing the hook along with them and Pritchard motioned to the crowd to keep going. They then transitioned into one of their older song “Ooh La” and everyone swooned.
Following The Kooks were acts such as Mac DeMarco and TV On The Radio. Both shows were stellar and drew big crowds.
Another show I was able to catch was The Pixies. I managed to get third or fourth row for this show and was not disappointed. The band played crowd pleasers such as “This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven” “Where Is My Mind?” and “Here Comes Your Man” The crowd never stopped singing along, moshing, and crowd surfing, I personally obtained a few bruises from the show.
Right after The Pixies a girl I had just met grabbed my hand and managed to pull me pretty deep in the crowd to see The Strokes. They probably attracted the largest crowd over the entire weekend at the festival. It seemed everyone who was attending the festival was at that show. The band played all the songs you’d want them to including “Last Night” “12:51” “Taken for a Fool” and “All the Time” Julian Casablancas interacted with the audience the entire time even claiming that Mac DeMarco was on stage and running into the crowd to sign autographs and high five fans.
In my opinion Friday was the best day of the festival in terms of must see performances that went on all day.
Shaky Knees Fest Day 2:
When I woke up on Saturday, day 2 of Shaky Knees and I had one goal for the day.
Be front row for Neutral Milk Hotel. Here is my journey.
I woke up at 10 a.m., showered put on my Hard Rock Café baseball cap and fanny pack and headed towards Central Park. I stood in line at the front gates in order to secure my spot in the crowd fro NMH and interacted with fellow festival goers, asking who they were camping out for.
Most Popular Answer: Noel Gallagher.
At noon the gates opened and I flashed my media wristband and sauntered in.
I then realized I entered the way that is farthest from the stage where NMH was performing and I began to regret my whole life and ran towards the stage.
I managed to get to the stage in third place and sat down, enjoying my place in front row.
The sun began to beat down on us and I began to question whether I should try and see other bands, and just come back later for NMH. The answer was no.The first band to perform at the Ponce de Leon Stage was Field Report. A nice folk trio who, despite being in the first slot and therefore attracting a less than bustling crowd, put on a great show and captivated the few who were in attendance. I am officially a fan.
After Field Report was an English punk band Palma Violets. The crowd at the stage began to grow as people came to camp out for The Black Lips, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Wilco. Palma Violets took advantage of the growing crowd and interacted with them quite a bit. They offered merch to the crowd and talked with them while they set up their equipment. Once they performed the bassist stole the show by getting on top of the speakers multiple times and leaning towards us in the crowd.
Next up to perform was The Black Lips, another one of my favorite bands and reasons to stay at the Ponce de Leon Stage. A huge influx of people arrived for this show and the band did not disappoint. The band had a hype man come out to get us ready by having us chant the bands name. Then when the members came out on stage they went right into performing their music and the crowd began to mosh (again I obtained some bruises at this show) The band got down off stage multiple times, interacted with the crowd, licked their guitars, poured water on us, drank beer and spit it out at us, and kicked beer cans into the air making them spray everywhere. To say it was “punk rock” would be an understatement.
Finally the moment had arrived, Neutral Milk Hotel came on stage and set up their own equipment (very cool) and the sight of Jeff Mangum’s beard was enough to let me die happy. An audience member handed a present to Julian Koster, who was wearing a blue knit hat (so Julian) accepted the gift and smiled and winked at the lucky fan. When the time came for the band to perform a voice came over the speakers announcing that Neutral Milk Hotel did not want anybody taking photos or videos, a bummer but understandable. They put on an amazing show. Jeff’s voice sounded just as perfect as ever and Julian played his banjo while seeming to be off in another universe. At the end of the show Julian tossed his bow and Jeremy through one of his drumsticks into the crowd. When the show ended I knew I had to scream for a setlist or I wouldn’t get one. I began to yell at the people packing up the equipment for “A SETLIST?! A SETLIST PLEASE! I’LL DO ANYTHING” and no I am not ashamed of this. When someone finally heard me they grabbed the setlists that the band had used and came down towards me I thought “This is it!” Sadly no, some jerk next two me grabbed it before I did and I began to question the meaning of life.
After the stage was cleared off I knew after a day of not eating, standing in the sun, and moshing I couldn’t make it to Wilco and I began to exit the crowd, ending my day early.
Was all of it worth it? Yes, because when I yelled “Julian you’re amazing!” He looked right at me and smiled.
Shaky Knees Fest Day 3:
On Sunday I had much more of an agenda. My shows for the day were Mini Mansions, The Mowgli’s, Best Coast, Dr. Dog, Panda Bear, and Tame Impala.
For some reason it was the hottest it had been that weekend on Sunday. It was somewhat miserable. But the shows made up for it. First up was Los Angeles band Mini Mansions. The band had a lot of style wearing floral shirts and having a light setup on stage spelling their name. They covered Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” and did great job. The Mowgli’s took the Buford Highway Stage at 2 p.m. The sun was hot but the crowd was still in high spirits.
Then, Best Coast performed and the heat and the dust in the air finally got to people who were choosing to sit under trees and just listen rather than showing up to the stage for the show and being in the crowd. I even had to take a moment and sit in the shade.
It was in the shade that I saw Dr Dog perform. Despite not being close to the stage the people next to me were still singing along and dancing and yelling at the band.
Panda Bear was the nice break that everyone needed I think. The show took place in a tent when the sun was just starting to set, and the chill electronica was just the kind of music we needed to unwind and cool off.
I began heading towards the Peachtree Stage after that in order to get a good spot for Tame Impala. Despite being the last show on the last day Tame Impala had a large crowd come to see them. The band had an incredible light show and had great energy telling the crowd they were excited to be there multiple times. They played “Elephant” and “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” which is what everyone wanted and it was everything you wanted it to be. The show ended and everyone began chanting for an encore, and the band was happy to oblige.
Overall Shaky Knees Fest was a great experience. The people who attended were so nice and friendly. Everyone in my hotel was super cool and fun to talk to. The people I met in line at shows were awesome as well and had great taste in music (obviously) the location was great. Atlanta is home to a lot of great musicians so it made sense to have a festival there. I would definitely recommend people to try and make it to Shaky Knees next year.