The first day of Shaky Knees saw an influx of people and some of the festival most sought after acts. The first act of the festival was Surfer Blood premiering songs off their new record “1000 Palms.” The mid afternoon was taken up by other newcomer bands with a mostly pop emphasis like Haerts, Tennis, Halsey, and Zella Day. The night took off with a destroying, crowdsurfing, and utterly weird set by Mac DeMarco, opened for by stoner punks WAVVES. The 6:15 slot proved to be the most conflict spot of the night, and possibly the festival, TV on the Radio, Death From Above 1979, and the Mountain Goats all going on at the same time. Semi locals Mastodon played a thrashing set to a mixture of diehard metalheads, first time festival goers, and Strokes fans who were waiting out the mosh pits for the anticipated headliners. The 8:15 time slot also forced festival goers to make difficult choices between Pixies, Brand New, and crooner James Blake. The biggest draw of Friday was headliners, The Strokes. Giving their first set of the year to a very eager and receptive audience, the band blasted through a career spanning setlist that was both refreshing and familiar. Some major highlights of the show were very rare live performances of “You Talk Way Too Much,” which hadn’t been performed since 2004, and accompaniment by Mac Demarco for the arguably the bands most popular song “Last Nite.” At the end of the set singer Julian Casablancas ran through the crowd high-fiving fans and setting the tone for an exciting and memorable festival. For more live coverage stay tuned to our Facebook and Instagram accounts of the weekend.
The second day of Shaky Knees brought a more laid back vibe to the the festival. This didn’t stop the day from starting with high energy rising indie stars like Mariachi el Bronx, Real Estate, and Viet Cong. The peaks of intensity were in the mid afternoon with Irish rockers Flogging Molly, skater boiz FIDLAR, and Atlanta based crowd pleasers The Black Lips. The mellowing began of the day began with a rare, and magical set by weirdo indie rockers Neutral Milk Hotel. Bringing out all of their friends as musicians, and employing unique instrumentation such as euphoniums, fiddled banjos, and the signature singing saws, their show was not one to miss. They also are one of the only acts who did not allow any photography, meaning the lasting impression they gave the audience was the only souvenir they got. Interpol and Built to Spill also brought the classic tunes and kept the crowd rolling along. One of the major highlights of the night was the amazing Wilco. Playing a significantly shorter set than the were used too, every song was a hit bringing out jams like “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” and “Impossible Germany.” The crowd begged for an encore, but the strict time restraints disabled them from back coming out. ZZ Ward also put on an amazing set, The night closed with a set by folk rockers The Avett Brothers. Drawing a massive crowd of fans and newcomers alike, the band burst through a set of sing-along tunes that had every ones knees, dare I say it, shaking the whole night through.
Day three marked the most psychedelic day of the fest. Starting out with QOTSA off shoot Mini Mansions and RVA rocker Matthew E. White, the beginning of the day proved that even the smaller bands selected for the fest were still prime cuts. Sunday also put up some great singer songwriter bands like Ryan Adams, and the Aimee Mann/ Ted Leo collaboration, The Both. Another nice thing about the final day was the inclusion of jazz-funk staple bands like The Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Trombone Shorty. Both bands provided a needed change up from the very CMJ friendly line up. That being said many CMJ chart toppers played amazing sets on Sunday, including Best Coast, Dr. Dog, and the ultimate dad, Panda Bear. Rounding off the night were sets from psych stalwarts Spiritualized, Appalachian folk rockers Old Crow Medicine Show, and a crowning comeback set by shoegaze legends Ride. However the major draw for many sunburned fans was headliners Tame Impala. Playing a hits focused setlist, the Aussie psych rockers played favorites like “Elephant” and “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” while also displaying tracks off their forthcoming record “Currents,” such as “Disciples” and “Eventually.” After leaving the stage, the band succumbed to an unplanned encore citing “They didn’t expect a festival crowd to be into their music,” playing Lonerism deep cut, “Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control.”
The festival was an exciting and diverse experience, filled with amazing bands and a great atmosphere. Pushing itself to become one of the major festival names along the likes of Bonnaroo, Coachella, and Governors Ball, Shaky Knees 2015 was a killer festival thats sure not to disappoint in the coming years.[huge_it_gallery id=”2″]