Shaky Knees Music Fest overtook downtown Atlanta’s massive Centennial Olympic Park & International Plaza last weekend. Myself and MEB staff photographer Ambre Rogue were there to tag team the entire event. Overall, this year was a huge step up in the size of both the location and the lineup from previous years. Aside from the occasional and inevitable “Last year was better!” murmurings that I overheard, everyone really seemed to enjoy themselves.
This year is also the first year that the organizers of Shaky Knees are capitalizing on the still growing electronic music and festival movement, and I am a huge fan of the way they are handling it. Instead of adding a stage for DJs at Shaky Knees that could go the way of Perry’s stage at Lollapalooza – becoming so huge that the bass of Kaskade bleeds into Paul McCartney’s untimely acoustic performance of Blackbird – C3 Presents was smart and added a whole additional festival, this weekend’s Shaky Beats (which Ambre will also be in attendance with coverage soon to follow). In addition to this being a great business decision, the fans of each type of music can enjoy their favorite artists in peace (or whatever the equivalent of peace is at an EDM show).
Instead of judging or ranking every Shaky Knees performance that I saw, I simply want to highlight a couple of my favorites. This is obviously not an all-inclusive list, and if you have different thoughts or were able to catch other performances, comment below.
This is the first time I have seen Against Me! with Laura Jane Grace at the helm. The last time I saw them was when Laura went by Thomas, and Thomas was walking upside down on the ceiling while performing in the living room of a Gainesville, Florida house show. A lot was different about those two performances, yet they were the same in many ways. Laura, and Against Me! as a whole, did a great job adapting her punk rock attitude to the festival atmosphere – I wouldn’t necessarily consider Against Me! to be the best type of band to play at a festival, but it worked.
My Morning Jacket
I missed a lot of My Morning Jacket’s set, but what I did catch was amazing. Even if you aren’t into their particular style, the talent and professionalism that Jim James and the rest of the band display is incredible. Everyone from Bruce Springsteen to your mother have performed a cover of Prince’s Purple Rain in the last few weeks, but My Morning Jacket’s was one of the best I have seen – plus they had a massive disco ball.
St. Paul and the Broken Bones
A few years ago, Justin Timberlake was the guy that all guys wanted to be and all girls wanted to be with. In 2016, I think that person might be Paul Janeway – hear me out. Something about this dude is so mesmerizing. I don’t know if it’s the voice, the shoes, the rolling around on the floor, the suit that rips from said rolling, or a combination of all of the above. Paul definitely knows how to take people to church, as he likes to say. You can expect a new album from St. Paul and the Broken Bones later this year.
The Struts have been up and coming over the last year. They have been compared to greats such as Queen and The Rolling Stones and I can definitely see both of those in their live performance. Following the release of their first album, Everybody Wants. they have consistently been on the rise, selling out shows, continuously delivering new singles, and giving incredible performances. I was truly impressed and look forward to where The Struts will go in the future.
Florence + The Machine
Florence + The Machine had been on my “must see” list for a very long time. Though it required sacrificing seeing At The Drive-In, it was a very hard decision to make. Florence puts on a show like no other with incredible lights, smoke, and a really neat mirroring background. Florence Welch is also an out of this world performer, I was very impressed with her voice live, as well as her entire band and other singers.
Throughout the weekend, Ambre and I had the privilege of sitting down with Barns Courtney, Houndmouth, Polyenso, and LANY. Those interviews and editorials will be released over the next few days and weeks.
The full gallery can be viewed here