Recap by Max Stewart, Photos by Tyler Sterling
Another fantastic weekend at Atlanta’s Central Park for Shaky Knees Music Festival. Shaky Knees has quickly become one of the most sought after festivals to attend in the U.S., thanks to its curated lineup focused predominantly on artists with indie-rock and unique leanings.
For those unable to attend this year, mark your calendars for the 10 year anniversary in 2023! Check out our full gallery from photographer Tyler Sterling from the weekend.
Nine Inch Nails: Seeing the electro-rock mastermind Trent Reznor over the Atlanta skyline felt so right. Reznor is a mastermind and modern musical legend, and it was delightful seeing him perform a variety of tunes from various albums throughout the band’s tenure (with The Downward Spiral dominating the night). “March of the Pigs” and “Head Like a Hole” were thrashing, out-of-body experiences, while “Hurt” was about as poignant as a rock moment we have experienced.
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard: Australia’s own King Gizzard could be described a many of different ways stylistically, depending upon which of the many records you choose to play. The band lived up to all of the hype and could easily draw as a festival headliner in future years. We look forward to seeing them play the Tabernacle in Atlanta this fall.
Guided by Voices: Forefathers of the jangle pop indie rock moment, Guided By Voices (led by songwriter and vocalist Robert Pollard) were most definitely one of the better rock festival sets we have ever seen. Go check this band out if the opportunity ever presents itself. Guided by Voices clearly have earned their status as giants in their own right, and owned the stage with charisma and poise.
My Morning Jacket: The festival Shaky Knees actually got their name from their tune “Steam Engine”: “…and goddamn those shaky knees.” For a headliner closing out the festival that inspired the name, Kentucky’s MMJ delivered a powerful and dynamic set. Opening with “One Big Holiday” and playing a variety of tunes throughout their career including “Holdin On to Black Metal”, “Worldless Chorus”, and a long-jam of “Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Pt. 2”, My Morning Jacket should be invited back to this festival any damn time they please.
Khruangbin: Houston’s have been on a meteoric trajectory in the last few years, making their mark on legions of live onlookers and folks who have discovered their music during the black hole of limited live performance the last two years. Any fans of fully immersive concerts will certainly revel in the ride that Khruangbin brings you on. The band pilots you deep into their musical fabric while leading you through many soundscapes of the sonicsphere.
Amyl and the Sniffers: Another Australian act, Amyl and the Sniffers were raw, authentic, primal rock n’ roll. We recommend this live show to EMT units to bring someone’s pulse back in a dire situation. Blood was flowing and pulses were pumping throughout this set, as singer Amy Ray was about as badass as a frontwomen gets, no fear and all purity. She actually bled during a stage dive / crowd maneuver.
Dehd: Our contributor Tyler Sterling nailed it in our preview and was dead-on in predicting Dehd was one of the sleepers of the weekend: “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.”
Kurt Vile: One of the modern maestros of songwriting, Kurt Vile is a lyrical and sonic mastermind and the epitome of cool. His new record, (watch my moves), was well-represented and is another career highlight for the Philadelphia native. And as he always seems to do live, Vile drew the crowd in with his laid-back but sneakily very technical musical prowess.
Another successful year in ATL, and we cannot wait for next year’s festival May 5-7, 2023!