By Tyler Sterling
The music world is slowly making its way out of the cave after a hibernation filled with tour and festival cancelations. Empty stomached masses will all be gathering in Atlanta for Shaky Knees Festival in search of a calorie-dense serving of live music.
We urge you to do more than politely nod while the waiter lists off the daily specials. This is your three-day marathon crash diet of only cheat meals. Get your thickest reading glasses and take a good look at the menu before you order.
- As you have every right to assume, Kurt Vile doesn’t have much in common with an alligator. He has far fewer teeth and his jaws are more powerful when he opens them to sing rather than to clamp down on a thirsty animal near a riverbank. Surrounded by his two daughters, he sports an alligator mask on the cover of his new record, (watch my moves). The tracklist delivers tongue in cheek lyrics with guitar licks that bend like heat waves on a mirage. We are crossing our fingers that Julia Shapiro of the band Chastity Belt, who will be playing earlier that Saturday, will join Kurt Vile for the song “Chazzy Don’t Mind”.
- The members of Flipturn are from the same swampy piece of earth as Tom Petty and Against Me!, but they are carving out their own path with a full bodied style that straddles small town folksy wisdom with a youthful eagerness to keep driving through the night. Hailing from Gainesville Florida, the singer Dillon Basse performs vocal acrobatics that are reminiscent of Jeff Buckley’s crooning falsetto. This is a young band on the rise and hungry to make a good impression across Georgia state lines.
- King Gizzard are a pulpy, heady, virtuosic, restless, rabid, group of Australians that could be cast as a dystopian gang in a Mad Max film. They have faced consistent tour cancellation and delays, but are legally obligated to always conduct a thorough face melting session. After their set, you will be rambling about seven four time signatures and microtonal instrument tunings like you have been recruited to join a communal fever dream. Enter their mad scientist laboratory and you’ll realize that you’re not watching the experiment, but that YOU are the experiment.
- Dehd is one of the biggest sleepers on this festival lineup. They’re slotted for a 12:45 pm performance on Saturday and would guarantee a Pulp Fiction style adrenaline shot to your heart to start your day. They operate in a distinct frequency—somewhere between a Viking raid and a late summer night drive along a beachy coastline. Emily Kempf, Dehd’s singer does hairpin turns on a route that charts the shifting emotions of love and loss. Jason Balla picks reverb drenched riffs that are fit for a postcard with frantic words written on the back. It seems contradictory on paper, but luckily it all makes sense in the airwaves.
- Khruangbin is no stranger to the festival circuit. Their cultural cachet is staggering after consistently proving that they are put on one of the most fun live performances out there. Much has been said about their genre fusion and heavily stamped passport approach to composing music. Call it funk, soul, world music, psychedelia—whatever. There are so many ingredients that all hopes of following their recipe vanish. Some things are meant to be enjoyed, but not replicated. Khruangbin will be helping to close out the festival on Sunday evening, soothing the overly sun-exposed and buzzing heads of festival goers.
We hope that you are bringing a healthy appetite for Shaky Knees 2022. This festival weekend, we feast.