By Tre Hardy
For years Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta has been home to Shaky Knees, a festival composed of the biggest names in the indie scene like My Morning Jacket and Florence + the Machine. This year, the festival decided to change it up and give Atlanta the music festival it deserves: the Shaky Beats festival. The event features well-known artists, just like the Shaky Knees festival, but with a twist catered to the electronic and hip-hop fans.
The first day of Shaky Beats started off with Small Black, an indie band that prides themselves in their unique, distorted sound on the Piedmont Stage. Immediately following on the Peachtree Stage was Jai Wolf, an electronic artist known for his remixes of radio hits like Nelly’s “Ride Wit Me” and Odesza’s “Say My Name.” Back on the Piedmont Stage, AlunaGeorge delivered a performance with her own sexy choreography which was only made sexier by the downpour of rain on stage. To close out the night on the Peachtree Stage, Major Lazer played the most entertaining concert I have ever seen. The way Major Lazer got the crowd pumped was phenomenal. Between the amazing pyrotechnics display, chart topping songs like “ Lean On” and “Light It Up,” the Caribbean back-up dancers, and the tons of fog, it’s safe to say that Day One of Shaky Beats was memorable.
With the amount of great music and excitement from Day One, it’s hard to believe that it would be possible to follow that up, but ATL knows how to party. One of the first acts of the day was “!!!” (Pronounced Chk Chk Chk), a band I had never heard of before but I liked their groovy, block party sound. Following their set was Tory Lanez. The “Say it” singer/rapper didn’t do much singing or rapping but rather played a recording of his songs while he walked on the hands of the audience and preceded to climb atop a lamp post and finish out his performance. Definitely the most “WTF” performance I’ve ever seen. Following Lanez was Marshmello, a deadmau5-esque DJ. Midway through Mello’s set, he brought out a special guest who wasn’t even on the line-up: Atlanta local and self-proclaimed turn-up god, Waka Flocka Flame, who went hard in the paint for his home town. Even though Waka’s appearance was unexpected, it’s not surprising considering that he’s been working in the EDM scene as of late. To close out the night was Seattle electronic duo, ODESZA. Their music is known for its upbeat percussion, so to complement that, they brought out a drum line to play alongside them on stage to end the second night.
Although Shaky Beats is mostly electronic music, the festival also managed to bring out some of the biggest names in hip-hop. Day Three introduced Harlem native and rising rap star, A$AP Ferg, who was “not [there] to perform,” but rather “to party with the people of Atlanta.” Ferg brought the crowd to life with his new single, “New Level,” and later closed with “Work REMIX” before getting the crowd to chant “rest in peace A$AP Yams,” in memory of the creator of A$AP Mob, who recently passed away last year. After Ferg was another New York native: Hip-hop legend Nas. From start to finish, Nas put on an unforgettable show performing hip-hop classics like “N.Y. State of Mind” and “If I Ruled the World (Imagine That).” Nas also screened the film, “Belly,” which he starred in, and gave the millennials of the festival a lesson on cassette tapes. Before getting off stage, Nas left the audience with some inspiring words: “Don’t ever look up to nobody [sic],” exclaimed the early 90s rapper. “You’re your own role model!” To close out the final day was headliner and electronic/drums/saxophone duo, Big Gigantic (BG). Not only did BG give Shaky Beats the sign off it deserved, but they also brought out another Atlanta local, Big Boi, who performed “The Way You Move” one time before letting BG finish out their set alongside Carnage who also performed that day at the festival.
Now with the first ever Shaky Beats in the books, all I can think about is when next year’s festival will be and how many other surprise Atlanta rappers will show up (Andre 3K, maybe?). For more festival coverage and chances to win tickets, stay tuned to KSU Owl Radio, Georgia’s #1 online college radio station.
All photos are by aLIVE Coverage.