Last weekend, the 9th annual Shaky Knees Festival took place in downtown Atlanta. From classic favorites to up-and-coming artists, the lineup is always perfect for any music fan. Despite the Georgia heat, festival-goers ran to catch their favorite acts and dance like nobody was watching. For many Atlanta music lovers, this festival is their first return to a “normal” festival experience with no COVID restrictions. Shaky Knees welcomed these fans back with open arms and made sure to have plenty of fun experiences, art installations, food vendors, and of course, amazing live music. Whether you were there for headliners such as Green Day or Atlanta locals such as Faye Webster, you’re guaranteed to have left the park with a smile. Check out our favorite sets from the weekend below:
Kicking off the Piedmont stage on day one was energetic Flipturn bringing the sunshine from Florida. The sunshine state band rocked their first ever Shaky Knees and played fan-favorite songs such as “August” and “Chicago”. Smiles never left the band’s faces as they played their captivating Indie-pop. Fans also got to hear a sneak peak of a new song that’s “inspired by Cowboy Bebop”, which had notes of Flipturn’s classic sound as well as some new influences. Although they made sure to save some energy for their Shaky Knees Late Night show later that night, they still danced and flipped their hair across the stage. Luckily for fans, they got to see an amazing set twice if they couldn’t get enough.
There’s just something special about seeing an artist play a show or festival in their hometown, so it was great to see Faye Webster take the Piedmont stage on Friday. The emotive singer/songwriter sang songs off her latest album I Know I’m Funny haha such as “In a Good Way” and “A Dream With a Baseball Player”. Excited fans yelled “I love you Faye!” and “Slay Webster” at the barricade. Even a security guard was caught singing along to Faye’s heartfelt lyrics. This set felt intimate in all of the best ways.
Despite having mannequin in their name, you definitely can’t get Mannequin Pussy to stand still on a stage (and neither can the crowd).The punk rock band played their emotionally driven songs and reverberated energy throughout the crowd. They played songs off of their album Patience such as “Drunk II” and “In Love Again”. One thing about Mannequin Pussy is that their music isn’t just punk rock rage, rather lyrics that hold a lot of meaning. One example of this is song “Pigs is Pigs” off of their last EP titled Perfect, which discusses police brutality and current political situations. If you were looking for a set to hand-bang to and learn something new from, then this was the perfect Friday set for you.
Rainbow Kitten Surprise
It’s no surprise that Rainbow Kitten Surprise puts on an amazing show. The indie-folk band has been consistently releasing hits since 2013. Lead singer Ela came out with a glittering dress and a lot of energy, twirling around the stage and catching the light with her glitter. The band played hits such as “Goodnight Chicago” and “Mr.Redundant”. Although they were playing the main stage at a festival, it felt like watching them have a jam session back in their North Carolina hometown. It’s easy to see that RKS is a band that loves playing with each other, on and off stage.
You’d definitely be left with regrets if you didn’t catch The Regrettes’ phenomenal performance on the Ponce de Leon stage. Despite having played a Late Night Show at 1am the previous night, the California indie-pop band came out singing “Anxieties (Out of Time)” with plenty of energy to spare. Lead singer Lydia Night jumped and twirled around the stage in her converse and stood on speakers to get closer to the crowd. They also played their recent TikTok hit “Barely on My Mind”, which was recently used so many times the band released a new single in celebration. Fans were definitely happy to get a double dose of The Regrettes in 24 hours.
Shining a bright sequined light through the park Saturday was electro-pop CHVRCHES. The Scottish band played their hits such as “Get Out” and “Miracle”. Lead singer Lauren Mayberry twirled around the stage in her shining gold dress. It was an apt outfit to wear for their golden hour set. Their wide discography ranging from synth ballads and pop hits was echoed back from the crowd. This was definitely the set to see if you were in need of some sparkle.
The stand-out set for many on Saturday was the nighttime performance from Japanese Breakfast. From colorful aesthetics, dancing, and banging a gong this set had it all. The band played songs off of their latest album Jubilee such as “Be Sweet” and “Paprika”. Jubilee is incredibly joyful and the neon lights matched that vibe. Lead singer and songwriter Michelle Zauner jumped around in flow dress singing song with complex lyrics and bright melodies. She embodies her music and sells the image on stage, bringing delight to all that stayed for the set. It was definitely an unforgettable performance.
Atlanta local artist Girlpuppy played her first ever Shaky Knees set Sunday and gained a lot of new fans. She played songs off of her debut EP Swan such as “Hideout” and “Miniature Furniture”. Although the singer hasn’t released a full album yet, she played a few unreleased songs which hinted at a possible upcoming album. Her personal lyrics and clear vocals were perfect for the bright Sunday afternoon.
Death Cab for Cutie
Death Cab for Cutie possessed the hearts of fans on Sunday. Opening with the 4 minute long intro to “I Will Possess Your Heart”, the suspense was teasing and thrilling all at once. Fans cheered and yelled “This is a beautiful song to start with!” while holding signs expressing admiration for the band. You know you’ve got a hit when the crowd goes wild after just hearing one chord on the piano. Lead singer Ben Gibbard crooned his heart out while dancing around the stage jamming with bandmates. Every chord had the crowd waiting with bated breath to hear what was next. The set was a music lover’s dream.
Even if you don’t know how to pronounce Khruangbin (which translates to Airplane, if you were wondering), you’re sure to leave a fan after seeing their colorful set. The Texas trio came out with unwavering confidence and sleek surf-rock inspired chords. Even without vocals on some songs, the crowd closed their eyes and swayed to the mesmerizing psychedelic-soul/rock. They performed songs such as “Texas Sun” and “August 10” underneath a shining disco ball. At one point, they brought out a tequila bottle and a Topo Chico bottle and clinked out a beat while dancing across the stage. A Khruangbin set isn’t just a festival performance, it’s an experience you don’t want to miss.
Overall, the festival was a huge success and a weekend to remember. Until next year, Shaky Knees!