Let’s face it: 2017’s been a rough year for all of us, and 2016 wasn’t much better (R.I.P. David Bowie). The one thing that manages to stay consistent every year, however, is Atlanta’s love for music festivals. The ATL is home to indie festivals like Music Midtown and Sweetwater 420 Fest and this year marks the fourth annual Shaky Knees Music Festival. Past headliners of the festival include big-name indie artists like The 1975, Alabama Shakes, and Tame Impala. This year’s lineup is just as big with returning talent: Cage the Elephant, Portugal. The Man, The Pixies and fresh acts like Pinegrove, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Car Seat Headrest and a plethora of other indie artists.
The gates to Shaky Knees opened up Friday afternoon to the most upwardly-mobile bands on their way to the top of the charts. One such band, Zipper Club, a band with only a few singles available for streaming, features former punk band Cerebral Ballzy’s Mason James and model-turned-solo-artist-turned-lead-band-singer Lissie Trullie. The band’s sound is a mash-up of pop synth and melodic vocals.
That evening saw the likes of Portugal. The Man, who’s returning to the Shaky Knees fest for the second time since 2014. The band’s newest track “Feel it Still,” a promising ‘60s-inspired dance track released earlier this year, had fans on their feet in no time. After their set, Cage the Elephant stole the show on the Peachtree stage with fan favorites like “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” and their latest single, “Trouble.” Friday night ended with the mellow melodies of the much anticipated, LCD Soundsystem. The band lived up to its name with their captivating background visuals that flashed throughout the park.
Saturday featured an artist that seamlessly fuses Goth aesthetics with chart-topping alternative hits, Bishop Briggs. Known for her 2016 debut single, “River” the Los Angeles native put on quite the performance. Watching her animated stage persona coupled with her haunting vocals gave the festival a touch of eerie darkness. The adjacent Ponce De Leon stage featured Lewis Del Mar, a lively indie duo from Rockaway Beach, New York that’s been picking up steam since their 2015 debut single, “loud(y).” The duo performed their 45-minute percussion driven and energetic set in the winding hours of the festival, leaving fans with the hype enough for the final act of day two: The XX.
The English power trio hasn’t been in Atlanta since their concert at the Tabernacle in 2013, and after a 4 year hiatus, The XX returns to Centennial Park to close out the second day of Shaky Knees. This year the band did not disappoint, giving the festival the finale it deserved and fans a performance to live with forever.
Sunday was the last day of the festival, and while it did feature the least amount of artists, Shaky Knees still delivered amazing bands. One such band was Pond, an Australian psychedelic rock band composed of two Tame Impala members: Jay Watson and Nick Allbrook. Although not as chill as Tame Impala’s usual distinctive sound, Pound’s set was very much a psychedelic groove. Shaky Knees ended that evening with the much anticipated French band, Phoenix. The performance sent fans on their way on an upbeat note with their claim to fame songs “Lisztomania” and “If I Ever Feel Better.”
Every year we are faced with hardships and the Shaky Knees Music Festival serves as a pick-me-up. It’s a weekend where indie and alternative music fans can come together and enjoy themselves and their favorite bands, and the 2017 Shaky Knees was no exception.
Photo Credit: aLIVE Coverage