Shaky Knees 2023 Recap – Sunday

Sunday, the final day of the Shaky Knees Music festival, was actually a “sun day.”...
Shaky Knees 2023 Recap - Sunday
Shaky Knees 2023 Recap - Sunday

Sunday, the final day of the Shaky Knees Music festival, was actually a “sun day.” The weather was somewhere between sublime and scorching, depending on the time of day – and as storms threatened in the afternoon, they were held at bay – perhaps by the incredible music in the air. 


The tone was set early on, at the Criminal Records Stage, with an exceedingly energetic performance by OFF!. They may have been at the smallest stage, and scheduled before 3:00 PM, but they rocked as if they were at an enormous stadium on a starlit night. The punk pedigree of Keith Morris on vocals, Dimitri Coats on guitar, Autry Fullbright II on bass, and Justin Brown on drums, came through in the most powerful of ways. They may have been around since 2009, but they had the stamina of a much younger band. Their power moved fans into an impromptu mosh pit – clearly unphased by the early hour.

Keith Morris

Next, the Piedmont Stage was alive… with LIVE! Ed Kowalski is the only remaining member of the band (after being fired by his fellow bandmates and reforming his own version of LIVE last year), but he was evidentially the most important ingredient in the mix. Like 311’s performance on Saturday, this ‘90s staple remains highly entertaining and relevant. Kowalski is still fit and his vocals are still quite powerful. His presence and strength connected with the audience – even with younger fans – as he rolled through hits like “Lightning Crashes”, “All Over You”, and “I Alone”. Kowalski has proven himself as the leader of the “real” LIVE.

Ed Kowalski
Future Islands

Immediately following LIVE was Future Islands. This dynamic synth-pop band gave one of the best (if not the best) shows of the day. Samuel T. Herring, Gerrit Welmers, William Cashion and Michael Lowry brought their A-game to the Peachtree Stage. It began with a colorful, multimedia background that readied fans for Herring’s dramatic entrance. Bounding on stage, Herring danced, bounced and growled his way into the hearts of the audience with each number, which included, “A Dream of You and Me”, “A Song for Our Grandfathers” and “King of Sweden”. Mesmerizing their fans (and creating new ones) Future Islands revealed themselves as the kings (or at least, princes) of Shaky Knees. 

Samuel T. Herring

Next up was Hozier. Certainly a hit with the many female fans in the audience, what he didn’t offer in terms of electric energy, he made up for with appeal, personality and sheer talent. With his beautiful singing voice and popular, yet meaningful lyrics, (and let’s face it – his movie star looks), Hozier held his own on the main stage, drawing a huge crowd. Satiating the audience with megahit, “Take Me to Church”, he went on to give strong performances of “Eat Your Young”, “Cherry Wine” and “Someone New”, among others. For his Atlanta fandom, he definitely lived up to the hype. 

The Flaming Lips

And after all the great performances, the Piedmont Stage hosted one of the most intriguing and enjoyable acts of the day, The Flaming Lips. The Lips introduced their brand of psychedelic rock, with a stage flanked by huge pink, inflatable robots and a trippy entrance by lead singer, Wayne Coyne, encased in a gigantic plastic bubble. Steven Drozd, Derrick Brown, Matt Duckworth Kirksey and Nicholas Ley backed Coyne up with virtuosity that can only come from decades of playing together. The Lips performed their most successful Album, 2002’s Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, which helped explain the unique stage setup and Coyne’s bubble. The sizable crowd was all-in from the very beginning, completely enthralled by the performance, making one wonder why they were not closing the show on the larger stage. 

Wayne Coyne

The Lumineers brought the show to a close – with a consistent, if not excitement-filled performance. The audience seemed to love every familiar number that Wesley Shultz sang, as Jermiah Fraites, and Neyla Pekarek accompanied him. Fans were ready for an upbeat and uncomplicated show – and they delivered in spades. “Ho Hey”, “Flowers In Your Hair”, “Were We Are”, and “Ophelia”, were among the buoyant standards shared with happy, albeit exhausted festival-goers.

As the sunny skies turned dark, and Shaky Knees came to an end, it was clear that the tenth anniversary edition of Shaky Knees was one for the books. May it go on for at least another decade.

-words: Christy Amador
-photos: Hector Amador

Concert Reviews