Article and Photos by Andrés Alvarado
Good times are almost unfair, right? The Shaky Knees Festival for example; for months we grew more anxious on a daily basis for the dates to arrive. We all made plans on which bands to catch, lamented which ones we would skip, had a blast once it all began, and just like that, it’s gone for another year. So, the wait for 2019 has begun, but man, did the 2018 version leave us with plenty of smiles and fantastic memories.
The logistics behind a music festival are no laughing matter. It’s tiresome, tedious, round the clock, and, at times, thankless. However, the Shaky Knees people went above and beyond to bring us some of the best talent the music industry has to offer, some of the best eateries around town, and all the resources to make a patron’s experience unforgettable. In the end, that’s what this is all about!
One day, attendees will look back to the festivities and brag to their friends about the joy that came about. Without further ado, here are some of the highlights of 2018’s Shaky Knees Festival in Atlanta:
David Byrne.- Still a master of his craft! One can always expect something far out of the ordinary when Byrne takes the stage. What makes his pageantry even more impressive is just how, after decades in the biz, his team find ways to impress. His approach relies on matching grey attire for the performers, a model brain, extensive choreography, a plethora of instruments, and bare feet. Trust us, the man and his mates are must-see!
*Repeat Repeat.- The must-see married tandem of Jared and Kristyn Corder walk on a tightrope of spirited riffs and groovy pop surf. Rifling off anthems off their 2017 LP, “Floral Canyon,” this duo walked away with plenty of new fans and plenty of word of mouth.
Welles.- Sludgy rock-n-roll hooks, flowing locks, and a fuck-it bravado make a good combination to help drive hordes of fanatics your way. Well played, Welles. Well played.
Rival Sons.- We can still hear Jay Buchanan’s raspy growl through this picture. What an epic showing!
Jimmy Eat World.- One would think they’re a relatively new band. These pop-punk titans still shred with the gusto of men half their age. Way to go!
Franz Ferdinand. – These Scottish dance-rockers had the masses in hip-swinging form. Alex Kapranos’ deep baritone imposes a sense of coolness that legends are made of.
Japandroids.- Brute strength never sounded so good. This Canadian garage-rock duo is what The Black Keys wish they could be.
Jack White.- Mr. Lazaretto himself is always a treat. Under a heap of steel-blue strobes, White closed out day 1 with a bang and set a huge bar for those day 2 acts.
Mikky Ekko.- This singer-songwriter has the physique and appearance of a Game of Thrones’ character, but the tunes to get your body moving. A most wonderful surprise.
Greta Van Fleet.- Easily the darlings of Shaky Knees. If you ever wondered what it was like to see a young Led Zeppelin or a young Aerosmith, this is it. No joke. The sky is the limit for these siblings. Don’t be surprised if soon they’re a festival headlining act.
Circa Survive.- No one wears the emotions of music better than Mr. Anthony Green. If a Circa Survive show doesn’t amp your senses, you’re probably dead!
The Distillers.- Ms. Brody Dalle is a rock-goddess. Those Distillers’ jams sent aficionados into a mosh-pit frenzy. Seems about right!
Chicano Batman.- Psychedelic, funky, and soulful, this Californian quartet exudes old-school cool with fashionable suits and aphrodisiac-like tunage.
Matt & Kim.- Wow, wow, WOW! Show-stoppers, show-runners, the best of Day 2. M&K delivers sensational lights, balloons galore, gigantic beach balls, rhythmicity at its finest, and slick dance moves. Oh, one more thing, Ms. Kim, she slams on the drums with, um, certain sex-related toys. Simply wild!
Queens of the Stone Age.- It’s rather unfortunate the Josh Homme-led boys played after Matt & Kim. As solid as QOTSA was, our collective minds were still recuperating from the wild M&K ride. Regardless, the Queens of the Stone Age closed out Day 2 superbly.
Mt. Joy.- Kicked off Day 3 in romantic fashion. Though the melodies were spot on, it was a marriage proposal that stole the show. Yes, you read correctly.
Sir Sly.- Californian trio Sir Sly was funky fun and gnarly. Lead singer Landon Jacobs touched on personal struggles and the cathartic experience that was his brother’s wedding after his mother’s passing. The showing was deep, musically and emotionally.
Post Animal.- Newbies! Post Animal was performing at their first ever music festival. Oh yeah, they’re more than welcomed to bring their psychedelic rock essence back.
Lord Huron.- The folksy vibes from the Ben Schneider-helmed foursome came with more oomph than usual. Known for their mellowed showings, these Los Angeles four showed they can shake and groove like champs.
Nathaniel Rateliff.- His R&B and Blues Rock fusion rocked Shaky Knees’ crowd to its very core. My, oh my, Mr. Rateliff, mercy!
The Menzingers.- Folk-punk and Scranton was well represented. One of the most entertaining performances of the night.
The Voidz.- If eclecticism is your thing, then look no further than Julian Casablancas and The Voidz. Weird, raging, mellowed, rock, pop, glam, they have it all.
The National.- Seemed like a fitting band to finish out the festivities. Bright lights and Matt Beringer’s vocal prowess gave proper closure to another phenomenal year for Atlanta’s premier music festival.
For three days Atlanta lived and breathed music. For three days all the worries were left behind, and Shaky Knees brought the city together for the love of tunes. So, now we the desperate wait begins, but worry not as Shaky Knees will come back soon enough, and with plenty of surprises. Cheers!