Atlanta Georgia played host to the fifth anniversary of the Shaky Knees Music Festival. The creation of local concert promoter Tim Sweetwood, now in a partnership with concert promotion and event production powerhouse C3 Presents, Shaky Knees has continued to evolve while remaining true to its roots. The festival returned to Centennial Olympic Park in downtown for the second year, but gone are last years’ long walks over the narrow pedestrian bridge to the stages at International Plaza. For its fifth outing the festival has had its footprint downsized from five stages to three, within the confines of Centennial Park. While ultimately viewed as a positive change that created a more intimate and easily traversed environment, fitting three stages in a relatively constrained area did create some challenges, including a bit of sound bleed between the large Peachtree stage and the secondary Piedmont stage. Considering the logistics, the festival organizers did an admirable job of limiting the impact.
The capacity and layout may have been altered, but the musical focus remained relatively unchanged. While headliners, The XX, LCD Soundsystem, and Phoenix may have skewed more toward an electronic dance-influenced vibe, the overall soundscape centered on indie and alternative rock with a bit of Americana and folk flavor.
Friday started off under a bit of a black cloud… Literally. The weather forecast was calling for a bout of showers and thunderstorms, but Mother Nature was in a kind mood and the rain never materialized. The overcast skies and sporadic breeze kept the heat and humidity at bay, making for a comfortable day to catch some bands, and Friday had plenty to offer. We started the day with a solid set from New York’s Cymbals Eat Guitars and wandered from highlight to highlight. Friday’s standout performances included: a raw and raging set of Brit-punk from Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes; Some throwback soul-laced rock and roll from The London Souls; A buzz-worthy set of Southern rock and blues from Rainbow Kitten Surprise that channeled early Kings Of Leon; And barnstorming sets from Twin Peaks and Fidlar. We closed out Day 1 with rollicking sets from Cage The Elephant and Pixies before making our way to main headliner LCD Soundsystem who delivered a dance party that looked as good as it sounded, complete with a gigantic disco ball hanging from the top of the stage.