Shaky Knees 2024 Recap

The 11th Shaky Knees Music Festival began on a warm, cloudless Friday, May 3rd – and ended in a torrential downpour on Sunday, May 5th....
Shaky Knees 2024 Recap
Shaky Knees 2024 Recap

The 11th Shaky Knees Music Festival began on a warm, cloudless Friday, May 3rd – and ended in a torrential downpour on Sunday, May 5th. Even with the less-than-optimal weather, Atlanta’s Central Park radiated with electric performances from a variety of artists that made it worth the temporary inconveniences.


Shaky Knees '24





The venue’s layout changed slightly from its former configuration. The two main stages, “Peachtree” and “Piedmont” remained near the front of the venue, but the “Criminal Records” “Ponce De Leon” were pushed further back, and adjacent to each other, creating larger spaces for fans. It meant a bit more travel between stages as a tradeoff, but otherwise seemed to work. As usual, there was a wide variety of food and beverage options, as well as a plethora of Shaky Knees and band-specific tees and hats in the sizable merchandise tent.

Metric
Emily Haines

The day got started at noon, with notable acts including Mali Velasquez, Winona Fighter, Odie Leigh, Late Night Drive Home and Wine Lips, but things really got going after 4:00 hour. Beginning with an excellent performance on the Piedmont Stage by Metric. Emily Haines, James Shaw, Joshua Winstead and Jules Scott-Key served up a rousing set, beginning with “Black Sheep” and ending with “Gold Gun Girls”. Haines burned up the stage in a skintight red jumpsuit, playing keyboards with one hand and holding the mic with the other. Her vocals and the proficient playing of Winstead and Scott-Key came together to create their unique blend of indie rock, synth-pop, and high energy. The crowd was thoroughly entertained.

Metric
Interpol
Paul Banks

Next up, on the Peachtree Stage was a stellar performance by Interpol. With their slow, steady and always cool approach, Paul Banks, Daniel Kessler, Sam Fogarino brought their disciplined, post-punk sensibility to the stage. Banks, in all black with his slicked-back hair and aviator shades, was in great voice, exuding understated style. Kessler and Fogarino played perfectly off Banks on songs like “C’mere” and “Rest My Chemistry”. Their stage presence may not be incredibly animated, but they don’t have to be. Their playing and their vibe lived up to their cult status.

Interpol
Arcade Fire
Win Butler

It was then time for Arcade Fire, who took to the Piedmont Stage and electrified the audience with their presence – in numbers and intensity. Win Butler was back with a vengeance, bringing the stage to life with his multicolored suit, whipping his shoulder length hair from side to side as he bounded from one end of the platform to the other. The rest of the band, (Regine Chassagne, William Butler, and Tim Kingsbury, among several others) were equally as spirited and colorful. From “Rebellion” to “Sprawl II” to “Wake-up”, they certainly “woke up” the crowd with possibly the best performance of the day.

Arcade Fire

Friday ended with the slightly surprising, yet ultimately satisfying choice of headliner, Noah Kahan. First “Tik-Tok famous,” he’s definitely moved the needle to just “famous.” He truly mesmerized the crowd with his charisma and engaging persona. Kahn is the definition of a modern-day pop sensation, but has seemed to retain his humanity and humility. He began with hit, “Dial Drunk” and went through an enthralling set that also included “Northern Attitude” (a hit with Southerners as well, in this case), and the very popular “Stick Season”.

When all was said and done, it was a great start to a great festival.



Shaky Knees '24





Saturday began with the biggest crowds of the festival, with overcast skies that threatened rain all day, but mercifully never came. After some notable performances from Lido Pimienta, Blondshell, and Grace Cummings, among others, Dexter & The Moonrocks took to the Piedmont Stage with their fun brand of southern alternative rock and red-dirt country (or as their fans call it, “Western Space Grunge”). Front man and guitarist, James (Dexter) Tuffs rolled through a number of his bluesy breakup songs, including “Sad in Carolina” and “She Likes Girls.” Ferguson, and bandmates, Ryan Fox, Ryan and Ty Anderson brought a flurry of guitars and percussion that gave each number heart. Their cover of Cold Play’s “Yellow” was an amusing surprise as well – and all-in-all, fans greatly appreciated this talented group of musicians with their unique point of view.

The Revivalists

Holly Humberstone brought her synth-infused mix of alternative/pop rock to the main, Peachtree Stage. This English singer-songwriter engaged fans with an intimate approach to every song, sharing personal, self-reflective stories through her lovely, yet somehow raw voice. Songs from “Paint My Bedroom Black,” to “Kissing in Swimming Pools,” to “Scarlett”, wafted through the afternoon air, showing exactly why Humberstone was named the “Rising Star” at the Brit Awards in 2022.

Next up, and back at the Piedmont Stage, was Chicano Batman. This Los Angeles-based band consists of lead singer, Bardo Martinez, bassist, Eduardo Arenas, lead guitarist, Carlos Arevalo and drummer, Gabriel Villa. The band has the feel of retro, guitar-driven psychedelia, with a touch of Brazilian Tropicalia, but it manages to also sound fresh and unique. The group went from hipster songs with a mix of Spanish and English lyrics, as in “Fly” and “Black Lipstick”, along with some more traditional-sounding Mexican ballads. These men know how to entertain, and it showed.

Young the Giant

Surprisingly not on the main stage, The Offspring show was one of the best of the day. Opening strong with “Come Out and Play”, band frontmen, Dexter Holland and Noodles can still rock the house with their pop-punk/post grunge hits. Todd Morse and Marcus Parish round out the band and contribute to its hard driving sound. Fans bounced up and down as the group worked their way through a relatively long set (two encores!), including favorites, “Gotta Get Away”, “Pretty Fly”, and “Self Esteem”. Even though the subsequent acts were exceptional, the crowd didn’t want to leave until the very last song.

Next, was the always outstanding Girl in Red at the Peachtree Stage, then a “Sophie’s Choice” between Queens of the Stone Age and Miike Snow. Weezer brought the night home at the Peachtree Stage, energizing everyone with their fun, slightly sophomoric blend of alt rock and pop. As the cloudy night sky grew darker and the festivalgoers headed toward the exit, they were all happy to have seen such amazing artists – and to avoid the rain that held off until the last them had made their way home.



Shaky Knees '24




The Struts

The final day of Shaky Knees started out with a clear blue sky, but ended in something akin to a monsoon, also bringing a storm of great music. Artists like Fazerdaze, Arcy Drive and the Nova Twins played the “early shift” from 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM, then came The Struts at the Piedmont Stage. These Brits are quintessential rockers, with a touch of glam. Lead vocalist Luke Spiller was in great form, with his shaggy fringe of hair, smoky eyes and fine voice, he owned the stage from the very first song (the apropos, “Prima Donna Like Me”). Guitarist Adam Slack, bassist Jed Elliott, and drummer Gethin Davies backed up Spiller perfectly, as they led the crowd through hits like “Kiss This,” and “Put Your Money on Me”. They even offered a cover of the Lorde song, “Royals”. The rendition may have given the fellow Brit a run for her money.

The Struts
Dinosaur Jr

As the clouds began to gather, Dinosaur Jr began their set on the Ponce De Leon Stage. For a 40-year-old band, they were in excellent form. From J. Mascis’ strong vocals and great guitar riffs, to Lou Barlow’s hard-driving bass, to Murph’s explosive drums, Dinosaur Jr proved they are not “Dinosaurs.” Unfortunately, just as they got going, the sky let loose a deluge of biblical proportions. Concertgoers ran for trees, water tents, and any other form of shelter from the storm. The band continued to play, weather be damned. With hits like “In a Jar”, “Little Fury Things”, and “Feel the Pain”, the group rocked any fans who braved the rain and continued to enjoy this first-rate set.

Dinosaur Jr
Billy Idol
Billy Idol

After the rain rendered the venue a very large mud pit, things let up enough to begin legendary Billy Idol’s performance on the main stage. Festival followers were in various stages of water-log, from those who were clever enough to have prepared with proper rain gear, to those who happily embraced the downpour. Idol came directly out of the gate with “Dancing with Myself”. With his familiar blonde spikey hair, and a black leather jacket, Idol cut quite a figure. If one squinted, the 68-year-old was a close match to the 26-year-old Billy, who popularized the song. He was energetic and dynamic throughout the set, and with a discography that includes hits like “Eyes Without a Face”, “Flesh for Fantasy”, “Mony, Mony”, and “Rebel Yell”, at no time did the crowd fail to immerse themselves in the music.

Billy Idol

Finally, came the ever-popular (and “Everlong”) Foo Fighters, led by the famous (and equally friendly) Dave Grohl. The rest of the musicians include longtime members, Pat Smear, Chris Shifflett, Nate Mendel, as well as more recent members, Rami Jaffee, and Josh Freese, who took over the drumkit after Taylor Hawkins’ tragic death. Grohl, in his long locks and simple black t-shirt and jeans, personifies the classic, post-grunge rock band. The Fighters always give 100+% with every show, and Shaky Knees was no exception. Beginning with “All My Life” and working their way through all the hits, they ended up with the aforementioned “Everlong” to the delight of the damp audience. These veteran rockers maintained their energy and musicality through their entire, 20-song set, and kept their now-muddy fans in their thrall till the very end.



Shaky Knees '24





Even with a rainstorm to end all rainstorms, Shaky Knees has another success in the books – and certainly, a memorable one.




Shaky Knees '24









-words: Christy Amador
-photos: Hector Adamdor

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