Our Shaky Knees Music Festival adventure began with the wonderfully talented Margaret Glaspy, whose brilliant mix of jazz and rock, along with her edgy and empowering lyrics, please ears and raise plenty of applause. She played a remarkable set of her songs, mostly from her newest record Emotions and Math, a perfect start for the Atlanta festival’s first day. Car Seat Headrest was next on our list as they brought their unique sound to the main Peachtree Stage. With a raucous and ready crowd in attendance, Car Seat Headrest took us to indie rock heaven with each song. They played with an energy and defiance hardly matched, setting the stage for bands for the rest of the weekend.
We meandered to the Ponce de Leon Stage for an emotionally charged performance from New Jersey band Pinegrove. Pinegrove played to a packed house filled with fans who knew and sang along to every word. With mature and strikingly honest lyricism combined with an adventurous folk rock sound, Pinegrove played an amazing set and became a favorite from the weekend.
Back at the main stage, we witnessed to the greatness that is Portugal. The Man, who blasted through their set with the massive crowd in the palm of their hands for each and every line. With their anthemic sound, Portugal. The Man has become a beloved name among the line of predecessors in the indie rock genre, using thought-provoking lyricism and wonderful guitar driven songs that stick with you long after they have ended. Portugal put on a powerful set that set the stage perfectly for the rock icons that came after them.
Cage The Elephant took the stage next and played one of the most memorable and electrifying sets of the weekend. There really is no band around today that puts on the kind of show that Cage does. With sporadically placed crowd surfing and interaction with the audience, Cage is a must-see. Matt Schultz is the best frontman in rock—he knows how to whip a crowd into a frenzy and it’s apparent that he has taking cues from icons like on Mick Jagger when it comes to moves and stage presence. The set was filled with an array of songs spanning the bands impressive catalog and the crowd ate it up and begged for more.
Friday’s finale was none other than dance pop icons LCD Soundsystem. Armed with synthesizers, an amazing percussion section, and a disco ball as big as the stage, LCD Soundsystem had all of Shaky Knees on their feet and dancing for the entirety of their two hour set. The band played to impress with tight rhythms and anthemic melodies that took us for a trip back to the 80’s, the perfect ending to the first day of Shaky Knees.
[Stay tuned for more Shaky Knees recap coverage from Eo8’s own festival lover, James Farley.]