Shaky Knees Festival 2013 Recap

On Saturday & Sunday, May 4th & 5th, Atlanta welcomed the new Shaky Knees Festival....
Shaky Knees Festival 2013 Recap

Shaky Knees Festival 2013 Recap

On Saturday & Sunday, May 4th & 5th, Atlanta welcomed the new Shaky Knees Festival.

 

 

have you ever seen the rain?

 

Day One

downpourContinuous, hard rain turned the new park in front of the Old 4th Ward stage into a shallow lake.  The North Avenue Stage created the least mess because it was near the concrete entrance near the street.  By 5 pm, The Music Park Stage was a mud bog.  The temperatures fell into the 40s-50s, so some people came mistakenly in sandals and shorts as others donned full rain suits.  The constant downpour created camera problems so the first day became a half-day.  Floridian southern folk band Roadkill Ghost Choir’s early set was missed unfortunately due to weather.

 

Vintage Trouble, 2:30 PM, Old 4th Ward Stage

Vintage Trouble

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Ty TaylorRefined in their act via an opening slot for The Who, Vintage Trouble’s greatness was pronounced over the loudspeaker before starting, making it a very 1960s style introduction.  The band members were pros, but their acts seemed slightly out of place musically at a mostly folk-based festival.  They seemed happy to play, referring to the rain often, as it continued through the entire set.  The singer, Ty Taylor, was a fine dancer for his age (43), stealing moves from Elvis, dancing and posing with the mic and shaking his hips, doing Motown era spins.  Lead guitarist and founding member Nalle Colt was full of enthusiasm and the rhythm section created energetic grooves.

vintage rain

 

Hanni El Khatib, 3:30 PM, North Avenue Stage

Hanni El Khatib

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As a first generation American interested in ‘50s and ‘60s culture, Hanni El Khatib took cues for his music from those decades’ blues-based early rock style.  Khatib and his band heated up the temperature of the cold day as they spun attention-grabbing tales like the song “You Rascal You”, a murder ballad about killing the storyteller’s wife’s lover.  His clear mid-range vocals carried the varied tempo tunes well and his backing musicians were top quality.

Hanni El Khatib

 

The Joy Formidable, 4:30 PM Old 4th Ward Stage

The Joy Formidable

Ritzy BryanClick image for full gallery

This Wales-born band seems appropriately named because singer-guitarist Ritzy Bryan was full of smiles (“Joy”) and the entire band seemed extremely full of energy (“Formidable”).  Bryan’s uplifting style, smooth vocals and large blue eyes took a hold of the audience’s gaze and didn’t let go.  She used the attention to her advantage, thrilling the audience by moving close to the edge of the stage during each song.  Her traditional rock star moves with the guitar were a nice change for a female player.

The Joy Formidable

 

sunny skies

 

Shaky KneesDay Two

The sun rose and held out nearly all day.  Only a few drops were seen, until it intruded upon the last two sets of the night.  Because of the nicer weather, it appeared that twice as many concertgoers attended on the second day compared to the first.

 

Von Grey, 12:30 PM, Music Park Stage

Von Grey

Von GreyClick image for full gallery

The four young sisters named Von Grey proved their worth as performers and musicians, having started training at age 5, evolving into professionals with ages 12 through 19.  The wonderful three- and four-part harmonies that only siblings can create wafted through the air over their classically infused folk.  Good vibes were felt by those present early enough to catch them, making them a perfect opening band.  Von Grey’s instruments included acoustic and electric guitar, banjo, violin, cello, steel guitar and keyboards.

Von Grey

 

Frontier Ruckus, 1:30 PM, Music Park Stage

Frontier Ruckus

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Full storytelling songs were sung without choruses, saws sang through the air, and trumpets were played one-handed.  That was the awesomeness of Michigan’s Frontier Ruckus.  Their amazing multi-instrumentalist Zachary Nichols played keyboard, mini-keyboard, melodica, trumpet and saw.  Singer Matt Milia played acoustic guitar throughout the performance, adding a neck stand harmonica later in the set and banjo player David Winston Jones played rhythm the entire show.

Frontier Ruckus

 

Heartless Bastards, 3:00 PM, North Avenue Stage

Heartless Bastards

Erika WennerstromClick image for full gallery

Soulful low vocals, professional attitude and a chance for each of the four members to spotlight their talents gave a depth to Heartless Bastards that wasn’t seen before this point in the day.  Singer Erika Wennerstrom delivered powerful, deliberate vocals as she played acoustic guitar and sometimes electric guitar.  Lead electric guitarist Mark Nathan gave short solos that burst with power and clarity.  The bass player ran his sound through reverb, and the drums had great clarity.  Song tempos ranged from slow, mid-tempo to nearly fast.

Heartless Bastards

 

Delta Spirit, 4:00 PM, Old 4th Ward Stage

Delta Spirit

Matthew VasquezClick image for full gallery

Lead singer Matthew Vasquez wasted no time setting the pace for loud, energetic Delta Spirit, coming out waving his arms and yelling.  The rest of the band joined in quickly, clapping, playing and singing just as loudly.  The audience was visibly enthused, clapping and dancing along.  It’s likely that many people knew the band and its 2012 self-titled release (QRO review), since that record hit number one on Billboard’s Heatseeker chart, one of the only indicators of up-and-coming indie rock bands.  The band recognized verbally that they hadn’t played Atlanta in a long time, and obviously tried to make up for lost time with a full-energy show.

Delta Spirit

 

Oberhofer, 5:00 PM, North Avenue Stage

Oberhofer

Brad OberhoferClick image for full gallery

Brad Oberhofer’s self-named young indie pop band from Brooklyn was a refreshing change in the lineup.  The quintet had fans from New Orleans bring a sign to the show to show their allegiance, although the band weren’t exactly teen idols with their pasty white complexions and super thin physiques.  Oberhofer began the set with lots of spins and jumps by its singer while he sang in a pleasant youthful tenor, portraying uplifting lyrics within happy, danceable tunes.  The main thing the audience appreciated about the band besides its great pop music was its raw, contagious energy and enthusiasm.

Oberhofer

 

Drive-By Truckers, 7:00 PM, Music Park Stage

Drive-By Truckers

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Drive-By Truckers’ Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley took turns singing and played guitar through nearly the entire show of their ‘country soul’ music.  While Cooley’s singing was smooth, Hood’s voice was higher and sometimes rougher.  Each sung lead, usually on different songs, but sometimes switching within the same song.  The band was interesting because there was quite a range of ages amongst the band members where the drummer, Brad Morgan, seemed to be the oldest and either the bass player, Matt Patton, or the pianist-guitarist, Jay Gonzalez, as the youngest while Hood and Cooley were somewhere in the middle.

Drive-By Truckers

 

The Lumineers, 8:30 PM, Old 4th Ward Stage

The Lumineers

The LumineersClick image for full gallery

The rain returned during the DBT set, and by the time The Lumineers started, it was a full downpour.  This prompted the band to start off with the Creedence Clearwater Revival song, “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” in semi-acoustic fashion, starting with singer Wesley Schultz singing solo and playing acoustic guitar while drummer Jeremiah Fraites clapped and played maracas as he walked left to right on the front part of the stage.  Soon pianist Stelth Ulvang was clapping and following the walk that Fraites began, while bassist Ben Wahamaki began to play and vocalist-cellist Neyla Pekarek began to sing.  After that song, The Lumineers showed off their snazzy set that had lighting coming from top of stage chandeliers (lumineers?) and iron bed frames.  After the first song, Neyla Pekarek went on to play her cello during the rain with little protection.  As the downpour continued, most people stayed to hear the band’s newest hit, “I Ain’t Nobody’s Problem”, which was played within five songs into the set, then left.

The Lumineers

 

Shaky Knees

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