While day two wasn’t as top heavy as day one in terms of legendary acts, Shaky Knees proved it had the middle tier bands to compete with any other festival in the game in terms of artistic depth. We started our day exploring Little Five Points; visiting such landmark record stores as Wax N Facts and Criminal Records. After scarfing down a delicious pie from Savage Pizza and waiting out a minor downpour, we were ready, so off to Centennial Olympic Park we went.
Roti Rolls Food Truck: I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the best food truck at Shaky Knees (and maybe anywhere): Roti Rolls. Their smoked chicken and pork rolls are to die for and make for perfect festival meal. I indulged in the smoked chicken rice bowl, which included chick peas, black beans and kimchi.
Foreign Air: This is why we get up early. Sure, the headliners get the masses there, but often the best show of the day comes from a band on the way up. They might not have taken the cake on Saturday, but they were close. Their sound is perfect for the festival setting and they seem to have a great time together on stage. Look for Foreign Air to start climbing posters in the years to come. -Rusty Odom
Mondo Cozmo: Checking out the bands we’ve never heard of with no research in tow is one of our favorite things about music festivals. And Mondo Cozmo reminded us of that early Saturday afternoon. Rain set the band back a few minutes, but when the time came, they were ready. It was the band’s first ever festival performance, and it showed in all the right ways. They were visably grateful and present, aware of the moment and they took full advantage of it. Their sound is somewhat hard to describe. At it’s soul, it’s rock and roll, but it has tentacles that stretch in to Folk, pop and even electronic. What started as a small crowd blossomed in to a packed viewing area. Few bands gained more new fans on day two than did Mondo Cozmo. After I post this, I’m going to go buy a shirt or a CD from the merch store. That is, if there are any left. -RO
The Revivalists: As The Revivalists were laying down a smooth set complete with horn section and sax, they set the tone for what would become a different vibe on his day. Yes, Saturday paid close attention to the ladies. Their set put everyone in a chill mode as the sun began to dry out the festival grounds from the previous hours downpour. As The Revivalists wrapped up their set, they ended with a beautiful cover of “Hey Jude” that had couples swaying back and forth, which was a stark contrast to the heavier more rocking sets on the first day. The only thing missing was a rainbow, which I’m sure singer David Shaw would’ve incorporated into his set if he could.
Catfish and the Bottlmen: Brittan’s Catfish and the Bottlemen brought their polished radio friendly tunes to Centennial Park on Saturday playing a high energy, high tempo set. As evidenced by the crowd, they have a huge female fan base as their set saw more female attendees than any other set to this point in the festival. Frontman Evan Van McCann catered to the crowd by commanding the stage while cranking out such tunes as “Homesick” and “Pacifer.”
Dr. Dog: Philly’s Dr. Dog have always held a special place in our hearts as they’ve become staples in the festival scene. This year marked their third Shaky Knees appearance. As they poured through their catalogue, the audience, which was made up of more families with kids, were eating it up. The one drawback to their set was the constant noise bleed from Catfish’s set on the Peachtree stage. Luckily, Scott McMicken and company didn’t let that bother them as they continued on without so much as a complaint or hiccup. If you’re in the East Tennessee area, you can catch them in a few weeks at Oak Ridge’s Secret City Festival.
Slvan Esso: The indie-pop from Durham NC took on a slightly daunting task of playing an early evening set on the main stage with relative ease. A sweet voice, looped at times over danceable, head bobbing grooves gave the audience just what it needed to start the night right. Do yourself a favor and check them out, if you haven’t already. -by Chris Smith
Fantastic Negrito: Fantastic Negrito delivered another soulful performance in what shaped up to be a day of them. Negrito mixed hard blues with raucous RnB at times, which included lots of crowd participation. Negrito proved to be a top-notch showman as he incorporated stories of his hometown (Oakland, California) and gave a nod to all the mother’s in attendance including his own in between songs. The proverbial icing on the cake was their expressive cover of “My Girl.”
Moon Taxi: Probably the most fan friendly accessible festival band going today, Moon Taxi played the perfect time slot to a packed house at the Piedmont Stage. Mixing in Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” and all the usual suspects you’ve come to know in a Moon Taxi set, the rockers started out fast and never let up. Moon Taxi’s performance made for the perfect tequila sunrise set.
Nick Murphy: Nick Murphy, who has only released an EP under his name, was formerly Chet Faker. Honestly, we went into this show with no expectations and left pleasantly surprised. Playing a more modern electronic sound mixed in with passionate vocals, Murphy quieted all reservations we may have had as he went deeper into his set. Murphy’s rhythmic backbeat at times made for an impressive set, one that many were still talking about hours later.
Family and Friends: Family and Friends were yet another act we were not familiar with but left blown away. As they mixed Avett Brothers riot-esque harmonies with post punk guitar, Family and Friends slayed the small Ponce De Leon stage. Arguably the most unique sound of the weekend, Family and Friends preached love throughout their set and was another group giving shout outs to the moms in attendance. Yep, I’ll be getting their album for my wife for Mother’s Day.
The XX – The XX were the headliner on Saturday night and were as steady as ever. As they kicked off their set, they relied on their more subdued earlier material before setting into their latest effort “I See You.” Always easy on the ears, Romy Croft’s vocals were very much on point as she traded verses with Oliver Sim. Also, new to their set is Jamie XX’s solo DJ set, which gave their performance a huge shot in the arm. The XX proved they were worthy of the headlining slots they’ve been given this year and kept the surprisingly large crowd engaged and dancing throughout.
After Show – Lo Moon & Temples at The Earl: One of the best parts of destination festivals is the array of official after shows that take place throughout the city in various venues long after the headliners have closed down the fest. On Saturday night we took in Temples late night set, which was nothing short of extraordinary. While they only have two full lengths and two EP’s to their credit, Temples does not skimp on energy as they effortlessly blend psych rock with pop sensibilities. We’re going to go ahead and call that Temples will be big in the US in the not so distant future. Their previous albums have already charted at #23 and #7 respectively in the UK.