Most Anticipated Sets at Shaky Knees 2017
Every weekend of the summer an opportunity for a festival cash grab. Every festival is an opportunity to book whatever bands are touring during the summer to add to a festival lineup to generate profit. This formula has been used in the past few years to book bands for certain top tier festivals that don’t necessarily promote musical diversity but generate festival lineups that are bloated with EDM acts, indie pop bands, and lackluster headliners. Doing this causes festival lineups to start getting lopsided and musical genres end up being underrepresented, like good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll.
But the Shaky Knees festival in Atlanta is trying to shake up that festival booking formula by putting on a niche rock festival with a dash of pop goodness for what will hopefully end up in a great weekend music in Hotlanta (Note: I promise to never say Hotlanta out loud in Atlanta.). Shaky Knees have pulled some of the best rock acts that never disappoint in a live setting like Phoenix, Pixies, and Portugal. the Man and but still try to offer diversity with fist-pumping punk bands like Cloud Nothings and FIDLAR(!), alt-country representation from Pinegrove and Ryan Adams, electro-pop from The xx and Sylvan Esso, and other wonderful varieties still to be found by just exploring the festival.
WIUX is making the endeavor out to the Georgia’s historic, eclectic, and all-around excellent capital city to cover the festival’s 5th anniversary. This is WIUX’s most anticipated sets for the weekend.
Car Seat Headrest
I’ve rarely seen a festival lineup that didn’t have Car Seat Headrest and the band’s festival slot conflicts with The Growlers and Pinegrove, so if you’re a bigger fan of those two bands and are going to be at another festival that has CSH this summer, go see them. But this article is the most anticipated sets at Shaky Knees, CSH’s outstanding Teens of Denial was one of the best rock albums last year, and my body is ready to hear those tracks live. The band’s frontman and songwriter Will Toledo can certainly craft an incredible rock tune and it will be exciting to see the music translate to a live setting.
I’m hesitant to “recommend” the festival’s top headliner because surely a good majority of the festival’s attendees have heard of the beloved New York band and their earthshattering reunion last year and know well ahead if they’re interested in seeing James Murphy and co. this weekend, but hear me out. I’ve got two words: new music. Just last Saturday LCD Soundsystem released their 1st two singles that are expected to be on their first album since reuniting and performed them on Saturday Night Live, and if they weren’t well worth the way. I can’t highly recommend the new tracks enough and my most anticipated moment of the weekend is going to be chanting along to “Call the Police” with a good crowd of people that feel as lucky and full of joy about LCD Soundsystem coming back from the dead as I do, and that’s why I’m “recommending” Shaky Knees’ top headliner and suggest not missing it for anything if you’re in Atlanta this weekend.
Public Access TV
One of the smallest bands on the lineup but still one of the most promising, Public Access TV and are currently on tour with Pixies and have opened up for other timeless rock acts like The Strokes and Weezer. The band released their fun debut Never Enough last year full of cool and catchy punk tracks. Check out this quartet for a pleasant early afternoon punk set on Saturday.
Cloud Nothings is a Cleveland band founded by music prodigy Dylan Baldi after recording the band’s music all by himself and then getting recognized by a notable music promoter who being invited the band to open for a couple of successful indie bands. This prompted Baldi to form an actual band and thus the live entity of Cloud Nothings was born. Cloud Nothings’ music tends to be hard-driving, fuzzy, unyielding, and anthemic like on this year’s Life Without Sound and my personal favorite, 2014’s Here and Nowhere Else. The band first had their big break from 2012’s Attack on Memory, an album produced by the legendary Steve Albini and included the pop-punk classic “Stay Useless”. Cloud Nothings has one of the most solid punk discographies of the 2010s and should definitely should be on your schedule for the festival on Sunday if you want to catch one of the most prominent and tightest punk bands around.
One of the initial reasons why I wanted to go to Shaky Knees this year was when I was writing my review on Ryan Adams’ marvelous Prisoner a couple of months ago and was conceiving ways to figure out to see the singer-songwriter songsmith live this year. Adams got added to the lineup and then I knew I was in. Prisoner is Adams’ best since his work with The Cardinals last decade and arguably his most personal. Seeing Adams live is a spectacle of its own between his magnetic stage presence, wonderful live renditions of his music, and his band’s strong musicianship but seeing the Prisoner tracks live and the, surely, intimate Sunday pre-headliner mid-tier stage set is well worth the endurance from being at the festival from the rest of the weekend.