Saturday brought great weather and even greater talent to Shaky Knees. To the delight of concertgoers, the clouds parted to reveal a beautiful spring day, which made the commute from one stage to the next decidedly more enjoyable.
One early, and pleasant surprise on the Piedmont Stage, was ‘80s/’90s band, 311. Nick Hexum, P-Nut (a.k.a. Aaron Wills), S.A. Martinez, Chad Sexton and Tim Mahoney have been around a long time, but their sound was fresh and fun. In addition to a primer of their hits – including “Amber”, “Beautiful Disaster”, and “Down” – they gifted the crowd with an excellent cover of The Cure’s “I Will Always Love You”. This unexpected moment helped solidify them as a group who still has something to say.
Next, on the Criminal Record Stage, was the earnest and mellow Soccer Mommy (a.k.a. Sophia Regina Allison). She is accomplished, consistent and adept at telling stories with her lovely voice and effortless guitar. While her performance is a bit more pared down and less animated than some artists, it isn’t necessary for her to get her message across – her music speaks for itself. From hits, “Shotgun”, to “Circle the Drain” and “Bones”, she maintained her status as an audience favorite.
Moving to the Ponce De Leon Stage, fans were treated to an excellent show by dynamic duo, Phantogram. Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter performed as if they were on the main stage. While both bandmates are capable musicians, Sarah Barthel’s strong, clear voice and charismatic stage presence stole the show. With a compelling discography, including “Black Out Days”, “Fall in Love” and “When I’m Small”, the considerable crowd was on its feet during the entire set.
The night ended with an incredible performance by Muse. Much can be said about the band, but at the top of the list is their ability to put on a show. From their special effects and theatrics, to their meaningful Lyrics and hard driving sound – Matt Bellamy, Chris Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard optimize the term, “Rock Stars.” With Bellamy’s piercing falsetto and robust guitar, Wolstenholme’s virtuosity on the bass, and Howard’s hard driving drums, fans were transported to a world that clearly belongs to Muse. Hits like “Supermassive Black Hole”, “Starlight” and “Uprising” mesmerized and entertained the audience, elevating their experience. Even after the set concluded, festivalgoers didn’t seem to want the night to end.
As they filed out of Central City Park, it was obvious that fans of Muse – and Shaky Knees — were not disappointed. Sunday will have a hard act to follow.
-words: Christy Amador
-photos: Hector Amador