Shaky Knees Saturday Sunshine Joy!
Be careful what you wish for. I was praying and watching for sunshine for about 10 days out, from Atlanta’s Shaky Knees Music Festival. I was one of the adventurous attendees at the very first Shaky Knees, knee deep in mud and soaked to the bone (revisit my experience HERE). Year two, it was more cloudy and humid with an occasional peaking of the sun, which provided an exclamation point of searing heat and humidity. Both weekends were actually bearable, because when the music is good, you can survive anything, right?
This year the heat was stifling at moments, but thank heaven for ice water, cold beer, King of Pops, and Nectar’s Smoothies (my food truck favorite). We were semi-prepared, with a small back pack full of necessities from the trial and error knowledge of festival going. A late start, due to a three and a half hour rush home, so we missed some really great starting acts. But I can’t change the facts, so I will just have to live and learn for next year.
Okay, here is where the fun began….
We knew, living in a car driving place like Atlanta, that it was very important to take Marta to and from the Festival. It was actually semi-convenient and with parking validation….totally money smart. But it is not a fast transit city and there seems to be a LOT of waiting between trains. This is especially at the Lindbergh station where it seems like every train is off limits because it is on its way to be serviced.
But just when you least expect it the train comes, and in addition to that, a kind rider offers you his seat. Who knows why….it wasn’t that crowded, is anyone familiar with the Peachtree Road race in July? But, kindness brings on more kindness and his gentlemanly ways paid off, and eventually another seat opened up for him so he didn’t have to stand too long.
Once we arrived to the new Central Park venue, we pulled out our maps and rushed to hear the band on my must listen list. On our dash to the appropriate stage, I saw this adorable girl in the most perfect outfit and had to stop her. She was dressed in alt/indie festival perfection, right?
This is Dawn from Birmingham and she actually works for Free People. She was capturing fashion as well. From her Birkenstocks, army green jeans, mid-drif ruffled top and fun camp style felt hat, she was festival wanna be for me. Perfect foot wear for dusty roads and cushion for the peds, but also cool wear for the hot temps, as well. Love, Love, Love her look. How ’bout you?
When we finally arrived at the Peachtree stage, Real Estate was into their second song. They commanded attention with their chill tunes, but I found midday to be a tough time zone for their them. Friends of mine left for food, claiming the set was too sleepy, but not me! I hung out with the mega fans and waved into the ginormous crowd camera! It was exhilarating to see me frantically waving and dancing to the Real Estate songs that I love on a giant festival screen. It was a selfie in motion times a million! What is not to love about that? Well, then, I saw this beautiful thing happening beside my crazy, happy, sweaty dancing.
She was actually sketching the band as they played. What creativity! I loved it, but I felt weird about actually sharing her amazing drawing. So I thought I would share what she was watching instead.
They even played the song that made me love them long ago!
After the perfect set of incredible, chill guitar, we headed to Fidlar (the exact opposite of chill), and in transit, bumped into many dear music friends. Atlanta is a huge city, but has a small town ‘bump into friends often’ feel. In my opinion, Shaky Knees was just on the verge of blowing up (in a great way). Over excited!
Well, yes the music did explode.
At the next stage, I cozied up as much as I could to the front and found myself in the mosh pit, wild danger zone. We were experiencing FIDLAR and their fans are insane and full of rocking, crazy fun. Ready to dash at any moment for fear of life and limb, there is an exhilaration that connects your mind with the rocking fear and it is an energy infused good time. As my posse hung back, I stayed in the mix to watch water and drinks fly and feet flip up in the air with crowd surfing that made my heart pump in overtime for the safety of each mega-fan. The music was pumping and powerful. The band was a talented batch of musicians that tempered the crowd and knew the exact moments to ask for sing-a-long (or better yet scream-a-long) lyrics.
That’s when I decided to rush to another stage and catch Devil Makes Three. They have a cool story of growing up in rural life and playing music. They are multi-talented and play a sort of alt-country Americana sound.
I hate that in all of my pictures, I wasn’t able to capture the striking Lucia Turino with her giant upright bass. They are talented musicians, but the huge stage and searing heat proved too much for me to stay too long. I really hope they come back to Atlanta, and I can take them in with no fear of overheating.
This picture tells it all, hot! I kept seeing this guy throughout the weekend and this was his most bothered and sweaty moment, but somehow he seems to rock it, right?
Then, I quickly rushed to another stage to get a good spot up close at Built To Spill. They were one of my ‘must hear’ bands for Shaky Knees. On the way, I got a little distracted and had to get a pic of my happy festival dancing self in the Shaky Knees Skull.
This was the only picture I got…. so you have to chuckle. It was sooo hot and I was in much need of sustenance at this point, so time was of the essence and Built To Spill was next!
En route, we were pleased to hear the end of our own Atlanta boys, The Black Lips.
So very late and really too far away, I still caught their signature jam of southern rock. Here is one of my favorites.
On my way to see Built To Spill, I bumped into this cutie and his Mama. This is kind of how I felt at this point, so I completely understood where little Tucker was coming from. Isn’t he cool for a toddler? Power to the nap!
Well, I lingered a little too long and couldn’t get very close to see Built To Spill. The funny thing is, it really didn’t matter because the music was THAT GOOD!
They are all crazy good guitarists and every song provided a moment to veer from the norm and stretch out the music with a nice lick or two. The guitar heaven combined with the distinctive vocals of Doug Martsch made for a perfect set of music for me. They played “When I’m Blind” and the guitar strumming was unbelievable to watch. Doug’s arm was rubber-like and so loose as he played. Crazy good.
I was in heaven, literally. I felt weak in the knees and saw some stars. Oh that’s when I realized that I might just pass out from dancing and the searing heat as it bubbled up from the asphalt. My friends were comfortably lounging elsewhere and I panicked that I would end up at the first aid tent, so I ran out of the crowd to sit down. I found a curb to sit on and put my head between my knees. I was recovering, but knew I need water badly. I waited long enough to hear the last of Built To Spill, and then I searched for my group, in a worried, hazy state. Finally connecting, I found their blanket and promptly plopped down for awhile. Even though I was really far from the stage, I listened intently to Neutral Milk Hotel. Somehow tons of cold water and their soothing twangy saws perked me back to life.
At this point, I knew food was a necessity, if I wanted to continue on. It was time to sort through the food trucks and find vegetarian fare. Slim pickings, but I found heaven with Nectar! It is barely in this picture (on the far right), but I learned later that they were voted one of the healthiest food trucks by Huffington Post. I had a heart of palm, cheesy, panini perfection and did I mention the pomegranate strawberry banana pineapple smoothie? The smoothie and sandwich brought me back to life! Hallelujah!
My recovery was perfectly timed with the eventual evening cooling and a few unexpected breezes, here and there. It was time to check out Milky Chance.
All I can say is what a fun surprise of a show! They were fantastic! I was pleasantly surprised at their energy and their upbeat interesting music. They had some tunes with an unexpected, fantastic harmonica and it made the crowd go crazy.
After this happy surprise, it was time to explore the Media tent, and any privileges that I might have. That is when, lo and behold, I found this beautiful discovery!!!
I was now a happy camper and grinning from ear to ear! TP and running water are a scarcity at music festivals and the happy privilege of a real, live restroom made my day….well tbh, the entire weekend!
This was the media tent where all of the interviews took place. Unfortunately, I missed the media happy hour due to my earlier fainting weakness, but I did see several professional photo shoots. And no, I didn’t interrupt, even though, inside my head, I wanted to ask all sorts of crazy questions.
This is the view from the media area. I listened to Wilco from here. As you can see, it was one packed house
Now, it was time for libations and The Avett Brothers under the stars of a perfect night. Yes, perfection in every way, as I look back on my Saturday at Shaky Knees. Their show was amazing and even though I have seen them multiple times, they always surprise me with their beautiful songs and stage energy.
Yes, I wish I could have visited every stage, and seen every band, but I made the best of the time I was able to be there.
Actually, the whole weekend was all about making hard decisions. TBH, the worst part of the festival was trying to choose which bands to listen to, when I really wanted to see them all. There were some really tough calls and then there was also a bit of frantic, fast paced walking to hurry and get to a stage farther away.
If a festival has that kind of amazing line-up, everyone wins. I will just have to catch the bands that I missed at a later date. Thank heaven I still had a day left to experience more! My feet were dog tired and it was time to head home.
Stay tuned for the final day of Shaky Knees……cause who knows, I might bump into Elvis and Jesus again!