The Shaky Knees Music Festival rolled into day two on a cooler and cloudier Saturday afternoon. With the break in the heat and the lack of blazing sunshine, festival attendees had a bit of extra spring in their step as they flowed through the gates in even larger numbers than Friday. Everyone was ready to charge headlong into Saturday’s slate of performances that promised to kick the weekend into high gear.
The Saturday crowd had swelled as those who couldn’t sneak out of work commitments on Friday joined in on the fun. Central Park was already starting to fill in as we made our way to the Piedmont stage to start the day with the sonic soundscapes of Bayonne, the moniker of electronic composer and musician, Roger Sellers. Standing behind a bank of mixers, pedals, and keyboards, Bayonne created an avant-garde sound collage built on layers of loops and samples augmented with live drumming. Despite the early start, and ambient music more suited to late night listening, Bayonne managed to captivate the crowd with his impressive modern day “one-man band” performance.
Having dipped a toe in the festivities with Bayonne, we were ready to dive head-first into the day, so it was off to the Peachtree stage for young Sheffield UK-based indie rockers, the Sherlocks. The band have been compared to fellow Sheffielders The Arctic Monkeys, and as they played through songs from their debut album, Live for Tomorrow, the similarity was noticeable. Despite their relatively young ages, the Sherlocks commanded the large Peachtree stage with confidence and swagger… Having played big festivals like Reading and Leeds back home in the UK has served them well. Based on the crowd reaction, they are ready to build a Stateside fanbase.
The Sherlocks were just the sonic kick in the pants needed to get psyched for the stage hopping afternoon ahead. As we made our way around the festival, the highlights started stacking up one after another. Some of the standout sets we caught included: TORRES, the performance name of singer-songwriter Mackenzie Scott, delivered a striking and emotional set on the Piedmont stage. Dressed in a blue silk jacket, with matching blue lipstick, Scott’s image was every bit as notable as the introspective industrial-pop she and her band were serving up; Led by frontwoman Alicia Bognanno, Nashville rockers Bully proceeded to own the sizable Peachtree stage crowd with grungy guitar driven indie rock played with a punk-like ferocity; Charly Bliss suffered from one of the many conflicts of the weekend’s scheduling. They had the unenviable position of playing opposite the heavily-buzzed Greta Van Fleet. It’s a shame too, as Charly Bliss delivered one of the most energetic performances of the day, and was definitely a favorite. Singer Eva Hendricks was bounding all over the stage as the band roared through the hook-laden pop-punk songs from their debut album, Guppy. Charly Bliss have plenty of potential, and we hope to see them transition to larger stages and crowds in the future; Parquet Courts muscled through a monster set that spawned massive dust cloud inducing mosh pits that quickly got us primed for one of the sets we were most anticipating, the big stage reunion of the Distillers.
Having recently reunited and played their first show in over 13 years, the Distillers, led by frontwoman Brody Dalle, hit the stage full throttle and didn’t let up. The band was tight and powerful as they thundered through the rage and rapture of their heavy punk classics. The crowd matched the intensity coming from the stage, and when Brody announced that she wanted to see two giant circle pits, they dutifully obliged. The set was condensed and intense, like the punk songs being played, and as it ended, we were already looking forward to a potential new album and additional tour dates.
Still reeling from the Distillers, it was off to the Ponce De Leon stage for the wild hard partying of Andrew W.K. before heading back to Peachtree for The War on Drugs. It was just as Adam Granduciel and his band were about to take the stage that the skies could no longer hold back, and the rain finally came. Almost as quickly as the stagehands finished covering the instruments and monitors, the brief shower was over and The War on Drugs took the stage barely 15 minutes behind schedule. After the feral wrath of the Distillers, The War on Drugs provided a soothing step down with their more relaxed vibe. It was the ideal segue into the varied alternative rock stylings of Cake, who won over the crowd with their mega-hits “The Distance,” “Never there,” and “Short Skirt Long Jacket.”
Putting the icing on the Cake (could not avoid the obvious pun) was the evening’s headliner, Queens of the Stone Age. Josh Homme and the band played a loose and rollicking 16-song set that mixed new material with fan favorites. The massive crowd that had gathered at the Peachtree stage responded with wild enthusiasm from the first song to the last and closed out their Saturday night sweaty, tired, and thoroughly entertained.
Photos From Day 2 Of Shaky Knees Music Festival 2018