Shaky Knees Fest

Wash yo face and change your frame of mind // Shaky Knees Fest seen through the eyes of two mid-west gals

Alright Atlanta, on our way down to you, we were all like “We’re going down where nobody knows us” and we were little green behind the ears about it. After this weekend, you may have just won us over. Although the hot sun done burned our skin (well one of us), your city has it all with Southern hospitality, user friendly public transit (hello MARTA), and more bars and restaurants you could ever need.

Shaky Knees Festival took place in the parking lot of Atlantic Station. The blacktop turned out to be a blessing once it started raining buckets on Saturday and we realized we were mud free (a nice change from Shaky 2013). We spent most of our time teeter-tottering between the adjacent Piedmont and Peachtree stages.  It was a plus because unlike Lollapalooza and Bunbury, the stages were close enough together to be able to hear all our band picks on time.

We got into Atlanta early Saturday morning, took in some birthday shots, and headed straight over to Lord Huron. Over the summer, Lord Huron’s debut album, Lonesome Dreams, was basically on repeat. This was the second time we had seen them live and we were disappointed again. There was no real stage presence or energy coming from the band. It’s a good thing we got their show out of the way first because nothing could kill our vibe after Houndmouth.

We can’t quite put our fingers on it, but for some reason seeing Houndmouth at the Boulevard stage made us feel like we were actually just part of the band or at least helping (were weren’t). From southwestern Indiana, they encompass the sound of middle-of nowhere blues. They are young, but their music has an old soul. There is a relatable emotion in each song they sing.  We can’t quite recall if we were actually singing along, but it felt like we were welcome. The stage was small enough to be intimate and we felt like they all actually wanted to be there and hang out with us. All the members of the band were pretty sexy, but Katie, the pianist, melted our butter when she rocked out on the drums hard, only to proclaim after, “Well, that was fun. – (insert coy giggle).” Thought: we’re not as cool as she is.

Saturday night rained from the high heavens, but nothing could stop our shaky knees as we yearned for Modest Mouse. They killed it, and we let our inner giddy school girl out for “Cities Made of Ashes.” With our fuzzy tequila heads, we almost thought about leaving the show after snagging the first three photos in the pit, but we WERE WRONG. Modest Mouse rocked out hard and we stayed to dance with some Canadian strangers.

Then, Sunday happened. This lineup- OH MY GOD. Nine straight shows of bands we love or have wanted to see live: San Fermin, Langhorne Slim & the Law, Deer Tick, Blitzen Trapper, Iron & Wine, Local Natives,Trampled by Turtles, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Alabama Shakes. It sounded so good we almost forgot to call our moms on Mother’s Day.

Langhorne, of Langhorne Slim & the Law, is the kind of man we never want to stop. He is punk-folk rock and fuckin’ roll with a banjo player to boot. He has gone from Brooklyn to the West and still keeps his east-coast rock vibe. He lives in the moment of each song and never once loses his energy on stage. He most definitely knocked over some stage equipment, but honestly he could have burned down the stage and we wouldn’t have cared.

Best crowd interaction award, however, goes to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. He took a hit of a joint from the front row, planted himself in the photo pit, and held the audience captive while he ranted between “Home” and “40 Day Dream.” Jade was unfortunately not with Alex this time around, but he made up for his missing counterpart through story-telling with his audience. We got so close we could almost stroke his linen clothes.

We’d travel far and wide again and again for a lineup like Shaky Knees 2014. Let’s do it again, and again, and again, and again….. We love you Atlanta.

-Katie & Katie


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