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 leanings. 2023 represents the 10th Anniversary of the festival, and we are so thankful they have stayed true to their format for a decade. There are almost too many great musicians to list, including some epic headliners in The Killers and Muse.
That being said, festivals can sometimes be overwhelming so we tried to narrow down a few of the artists we are looking forward to seeing this year at Shaky Knees as you are putting together your schedule.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Indie rock legends of the 2000s led by the effervescent Karen O, this is a show that should not be missed. The NYC trio have long been known for their energetic live performances, and their latest album Cool It Down actually represents an introspective and joyful moment in their career and we cannot wait to see how the songs translate on stage.
Digable Planets: This Brooklyn hip-hop trio were major contributors to the jazz rap / alt hip hop scene that emerged in the 90s and beyond, and this was in a big part due to their 1993 album, Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space). They will actually be playing that album in its entirety during their Friday afternoon set, a record that includes jazz samples from Art Blakely, Sonny Rollins and Curtis Mayfield.
Wilderado: This newer indie folk band out of Tulsa has a unique approachability their songs and we are pumped to see them live. They actually just released a live album with selections of songs from their tour, which gives a nice flavor of what to expect. Wilderado will also will be joining My Morning Jackets for a string of dates in June, so if they are Jim James-approved you must know they’re doing something right.
Olivia Jean: Jean will actually be releasing her new album Raving Ghost the day before her Saturday midday performance with a release party at Third Man Records in Nashville. As part of Jack White’s Third Man Records label since 2011 with her band The Black Belles, Jean just got married to White last year. She is also a Detroit native, and her tunes have a raw and dark feel while still being very catchy (check out title track “Raving Ghost”).
Futurebirds: This Athens, GA always brings it for a home-state show, and we are looking forward to finally seeing them on the Shaky Knees bill on Saturday. Many local followers flock to their Georgia shows, and we’re looking forward to others getting exposed to their Southern seasoning on Indie rock.
Tenacious D: Always a fantastically fun show, Jack Black‘s epic antics and stage acrobats will disguise the fact that he is actually a fantastic singer and that him and Kyle Gass truly have tapped into something great. This will be a moment of brevity and rawk during the early afternoon of Saturday.
The Walkmen: A major trailblazer in leading the wave of post-punk rock revival out of NYC in the early 2000s (which is profiled excellently in Lizzy Goodman’s book Meet Me in the Bathroom), The Walkmen just got back together and indie rock fans could not be more stoked.
Father John Misty: What is better than a little Sunday sermon from Father John? For those who have not seen FJM live, it is definitely an enchanting experience led by his mix of crooning, comedy, and falling to his knees charisma.
Soccer Mommy: With a powerful mix of uplifting pop sensibility and subdued vulnerability, we look forward to seeing the Nashville singer-songwriter at the Criminal Records stage on Saturday evening as she serenades the Zoomers and Boomers.
Babe Rainbow: Australia has a psych-rock movement happening right now for sure, with bands like King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Pond (who was supposed to play but had to drop out), and Psychedelic Porn Crumpets all collectively tapping into a spirit that takes flavors of the past and brings them into the 21st century. Babe Rainbow definitely have a 60s / surf rock feel since forming in 2014, and their latest album The Organic Band appears to be them finding their footing as a unique live outfit.
The Mars Volta: For fans of prog-rock shredding and wild time signatures, be sure to check out The Mars Volta on Saturday on the main stage. Known for compelling live shows, their 2022 release The Mars Volta could be their most accessible with mixes of Latin, dance, prog and all things in between.
There are honestly too many to list, but hopefully this gives you some ideas of where to start! We have added some others to a Spotify playlist below.