Sunshine graced Atlanta for another day, and I was prepared with an extra coating of sunscreen and sunglasses. I also chose shoes with a little more soul….(sole) because my feet were raw and sore from all the walking in my flat sandals. Because of a presentation obligation earlier in the day, we had to miss a couple of the first bands. But we were in for the long haul, and ready to rock!
This go ’round I was smarter about Marta, because I went a little farther down the line and was rewarded with a shorter walk to the entrance. I also ended up closer to the stage where I planned to visit, first thing. Recently, I blogged about The Mowglis, and I couldn’t wait to see them live. Their happy upbeat music proved to be the perfect starting point to a perfect day at Shaky Knees!
Pure joy resonated from every song. This song, “Whatever, Forever” was a big crowd pleaser during their set, and it comes from their new album, Kids in Love. Happy, peppy, pop music was a mood fixer for sure. Don’t cha just love a band that asks you to participate in the chorus?
After seriously sweating from jumping, dancing, and singing with The Mowglis, it was time to eat a bite and refresh with an ice-cold smoothie. While in line waiting, I spotted these good friends and liked their all-out festival style. Their personality shines through the wares, and they were fun to talk to as well.
They are Jade and Haley from Tampa, Florida and Forsyth, Georgia. They were psyched about seeing Frank Turner later, but really enjoyed Palma Violets and The Black Lips the day before. Dang, it made me wish I had seen Palma Violets too. Their new album is out now and this song of theirs, reminds me of an English Pub sing-a-long song.
After grabbing our food, we were off to find a spot to eat and listen to The Sheepdogs. Because it was mid-afternoon, the sun was searing once again, and this was the stage area that had me seeing stars yesterday, so we chose a hillside spot to sit down. Even though there was no shade, the Canadian band Sheepdogs kept us happy with their retro-rock sound.
They proved to be talented guitarists and they commanded the large gathering of the curious and the true fans. We all stopped and took notice.
This song, “Feeling Good” reminds me of “Spirit in the Sky”, but they add a modern and fresh take on the beat of an old classic.
With a satisfied tummy and ears, it was once again time to hit the ground running. As quickly as I wanted to get to see Best Coast, I couldn’t help but stop to take a gander at this fun, crazy outfit!
His name is Chance and yes, he is in a perfect T-Rex pose. I am glad I caught him early on, because there is no way, in the heat, that the T-Rex tie would stay on for long. Chance usually provides food for festivals, but for once he could enjoy hanging out and catching the bands. He was with Nancy and Mason, and I’m not sure if the photo bombers in the next picture are part of their group or not! You have to admit that it’s a great shot of happy festival goers!
Best Coast was next!
It was soooo HOT! Even the poor camera guy looked as if he had enough with his rag over his head. Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno were trying to make the best of it. She took a lot of time between songs trying to stay hydrated. She even threw water to the fans and we sang a Happy Birthday to Bob for his birthday, while she drank more water.
The music was great despite the sluggishness of the set. “So Unaware” was my favorite song from their new album, California Nights.
When there is quiet space between songs, I can’t help noticing everything around me. That’s when I chuckled at this resourceful guy with a hat that shades his head and keeps his Tootsie Pop!
The heat proved to be too much for lots of people. Every place of shade was taken. First aid was chock full of heat related worries. I knew I had to take a short break, and sat in a nice spot with a little bit of room, behind this worn out couple. You gotta love it!
Okay no time for sitting around long.
I wanted to find a good spot to hear Panda Bear. Panda Bear is Noah Lennox from Animal Collective. He came to my attention when he appeared on Daft Punk’s song, “Doin’ It Right” that won them a Grammy for album of the year in 2014. I was so excited to finally experience his experimental electronic music in the flesh!
I was not alone. The tent area was already crowded and we had some waiting to do. That’s when I realized I had made a terrible choice to wear jeans, despite my skimpy top. I was burning up!
I had time to spare before the show and just had to chat with this serious Panda Bear fan, Jared Brady and his friend, Jessica Thomas.
These funny inflatable bears and beach balls were bounced around throughout the set, while wild images and flashing psychedelic lights covered the stage. Lennox bopped his head rhythmically to the beat, and seemed very small behind his electronic equipment and giant screen. I was lost in the music and really didn’t pay attention to him as much as I did to the people, activity around me , and the changing of images on the screen.
After relishing the ethereal after glow of the power packed set of Panda Bear, it was time to switch stages and move on to Xavier Rudd of Australia. I was so ready for his subtle love-filled island reggae beat. As I worked my way through the somewhat thin crowd, I stood behind this adorable group of friends laughing and having fun.
If I have read my notes correctly, this is Meagan McNeely, Carlie Fordham, and Andrew Dalahan. I wanted to chat with the festival fans that didn’t go to see Ryan Adams. Ryan Adams is a definite favorite of mine, but I needed to hear a band I have never heard live before and Xavier was it!
It was really cool that when I pointed my camera his way, he almost turned to me to greet me properly.
I’ll post his latest song again, because it is double post worthy!
I was really happy that I made it back to the Peachtree stage to hear the last song Ryan Adams played. It was a pretty powerful song to end his concert. Different concert, but this you tube captured what I remember perfectly.
Okay, now was the time to prepare and get set up for the amazing final act of the day, Tame Impala. It is so funny to me that when I asked many of the attendees of the festival, they had no idea who Tame Impala was, but they would hang out and watch them. It struck me that maybe they had never been a ‘closer’ for a festival before. I didn’t research it, but I am guessing this might be true and this was a first for the band in the USA. How cool would that be? I kinda want my little southern city of Atlanta to be a first in that way. Is Atlanta music forward enough to realize the impact of this incredible Aussie band and the power that their experimental, psychedelic alt-indie sound has half-way around the world?
The field was beginning to fill up…
In my hurry for a place up front, I met some incredibly cool people.
This is Mary Catherine and Caroline from Asheville. Okay….full disclosure, it was pure hat envy on my part that I wanted this picture. They were both chillin’ and having a good time. She totally rocked the hat, right? Well, then I also found out they were red wine drinkers. We are few and far between at music festivals. Totally cute gals that enjoyed listening to Ryan Adams and Dr Dog.
Moving my way closer to the stage, I bumped into this group of friends. Fun was their middle name. Jessie Moore, Andrew Kufta, Sean Shamlafor, Jen Lowey and Scott Bellinetti. I hope they reach out and say “hey”, cause they were cool, and I loved her jewelry. I think she designs and creates it.
But moving on, I bumped into these cute guys originally from Australia. They remembered Kevin Parker of Tame Impala way back when they were all growing up in Fremantle. I swoon at an authentic Aussie accent and these guys had that accent perfection, so I talked to them for a while.
This is Ryan Mickler and Anthony Tran. Anthony was in America for a few months exploring and taking in the sights and a few festivals. Atlanta loves the international traveler that hangs out and stays awhile. Thank you to Shaky Knees for making him hang around! They gave me great suggestions for bands that I should listen to from Australia, and I love that because I am always listening! Australia has an amazing music scene.
As I moved in closer to the stage, the crowds were tight, but there always seemed to be room for one more. People at this festival were kind and generous with space and always seemed to fit me in. Moving closer and closer, I met John Manfredi and Jenny Nesvetailova from Atlanta.
They were both deeply involved in music from being a DJ at GA State to interning for music magazines, they had seen Tame Impala multiple times and I loved finally chatting with locals that knew how talented they are, and expected big things for the Shaky Knees finale.
Squeezing in the mix of people, the sun began to set and the lights of the show were beginning to warm. The excitement was palpable and everyone began to push closer and closer to the stage. It was a tight squeeze, but I knew it would open up as the music began and dancing would inevitably happen. Tame Impala began their set leading off with “Let It Happen”. Which I have shared before. I thought it was cool they also played another new tune from their upcoming album, “Eventually”.
There is something so interesting and pure about Kevin Parker in his bare feet, sporting a full beard (new), and playing guitar and singing so soothingly.
This band is fantastic, but the light show was also an amazing sight for those that were skeptical of the music.
I can’t even begin to capture the scope of it in pictures. Check out their tour schedule and be sure not to miss a show when it comes near you. I promise a good time.
I knew instinctively they were reaching the end of their set when they played this song. A favorite of mine.
I decided to work my way out of the crowd before the last song to find my blanket and a nice chance to sit down and soak it all in. As I turned around and made my way out of the thick crowd, each person behind me held their hands up in the air, with a friend, as if it was a doorway. I am not exaggerating when I say this friend ‘hand doorway’ caught on and I walked out of the thirty or so rows thick, with a cleared pathway made by kind music friends. It was a phenomenal moment that I will not soon forget. Yep, for little ol’ me…..pure spontaneous kindness.
Okay, this picture is a little blurry, but after the umpteenth click and pose, you have to just go with it! This cute guy just graduated and this night was a happy celebration! Great friends and a great time, Alex Waxman, Regan Tiernan, Haley Tiernan and Daniel Thompson were dancing and not wanting the night to end. I completely understood.
People that celebrate music are the most fun people I know. Music is so subjective and “to each their own” when it comes to what sounds you love or wish for, but ultimately if you are at a festival and find others that love the songs you love, there is an emotional synergy that transcends any barriers of race, status, gender, or orientation.
Music pushes ideas and breeds acceptance. I believe in its power and know that the creative energy surges into me as a fan. I will forever appreciate the hard work of those who write, play, promote, perform and share songs.
My heart continues to be full, almost a week later. What a weekend, what an experience, and what great people.
Looking back, I have tried to figure out how this amazing three day festival came about and how they chose the incredible bands that played. To me, the connection seems to be the guitar. Every band had amazing guitar heavy songs that calmed, soothed and at more times than not…thrilled. Wow, just wow, is all I can say.
Until next year….or maybe you’re going to Shaky Boots?