ATLANTA – Shaky Knees Music Festival, which began as a modest two-day event at the Masquerade in 2014, has grown into the preeminent three-day festival in downtown Atlanta, showcasing “bands (that) actually playing fucking instruments.” That is, according to Zipper Club’s Mason James, who was one of the acts to play on the first day of the festival. With a profusion of indie and alternative rock bands, plus a magical absence of the forecasted storms, this year’s festival was a sure hit.
WMRE hooked up Emory student DJs Cameron Frostbaum and Rebecca Park, with tickets to all three days of music, and we want to share our favorite sets and memories.
On Friday the day began with some wonderful performances from Rainbow Kitten Surprise and Moon Taxi. Both bands made big impressions on the fest-goers who were not extremely familiar with their work. Appealing the Indie/Alternative fans in the audiences, the audiences were thrilled. Rainbow Kitten Surprise pulled everyone in with their 2015 hit “Devil Like Me.” Moon Taxi did an amazing cover of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brink in the Wall” as well as sharing their new hit “Too High.”
Next was Portugal. The Man; the hype began as they opened with “Purple Yellow Red and Blue,” amidst plumes of purple smoke. Playing through some of their unique early work as well as their more recent and catchier songs, offering an epic ending with the Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy).” We were psyched to see one of our favorite bands!
The other Friday highlights were the Pixies and Cage The Elephant who made prominent returns to the Shaky Knees stage. LCD Soundsystem, who coming back from a hiatus, was surely one of the most anticipated sets of the entire weekend. Also playing a mixture of old and new songs, the show felt like both a reunion and the beginning of a comeback for the band.
On Saturday we were stoked to see Dr. Dog, Sylvan Esso, and The xx. Saturday was a great day for getting to know some new bands. Nick Murphy stole the afternoon with a massive dance party in the park. Murphy (previously known by his stage name Chet Faker) performs electronica soul music and had everyone dancing to his hit songs “Gold” and “Stop Me (Stop You).”
On Sunday we arrived early to catch Whitney, a nascent band from Chicago with drummer Julien Ehlrich from Unknown Mortal Orchestra. With only one album released to date, Light Upon the Lake, the band didn’t have a lot of material to work with. However, if you aren’t familiar with this beautiful album, you got to check it out! The subtle harmonies, Ehlrich’s falsetto singing, and of course the glorious trumpet, make it super easy on the ears and sure to lift your spirits.
Finally, we have to mention The Shins, a long time favorite for both of us. Even though we were disappointed that the set ended ten minutes early, the effortless performance of James Mercer and the trippy stage covered in pink flowers and dripping skulls was nevertheless an awesome experience. Overall, our weekend was a blast and a half, thank you x 1000 WMRE!!
& Thank you Shaky Fam – we had so much fun! See you next year!!
—CAMERON FROSTBAUM & REBECCA PARK