For its fourth year, May 13th to 15th, Atlanta’s Shaky Knees relocated, this time to Centennial Park. For the second time, the entire festival was held without rain, and actually had hot days. Food truck vendors expanded. Dos Equis returned as a big sponsor, bringing its Feast of the Brave for free in its bar area, featuring exotic foods. Lemmy Kilmister was reincarnated as a ten-foot mascot, holding a bottle of whiskey in one hand and a smoke in the other, while still managing to take pix with anyone who approached him.
Huey Lewis & The News
Rock bands often cultivate a “bad-boy” image, but Huey Lewis & The News never went down that road. They made good music, were fun, sincere, and offended no one through the years. News veterans Johnny Colla and Sean Cipollina are now sporting the bright “platinum blonde” (gray) look, while Lewis’s appearance hasn’t changed much. The set list included the entire Sports album from the mid ‘80s. They opened with the “Heart of Rock and Roll” with city call-outs, offered a tribute to Armed Forces veterans with “Walking on a Thin Line”, shared a more recent song “Finally Found a Home” and one brand new song, “While We Were Young”. It was nice to see such a diverse crowd enjoying music – people with punk outfits, goth dresses, metal t-shirts, cowboy hats, and parents with children, all singing along with the songs. They say good guys finish last, but this band would have to be the exception.
The Decemberists left behind much of their old stage theatrics and delivered a straightforward rock music set for Saturday night’s large crowd. They had varied instruments, including a Mellotron, and the various members’ parts fit together well. The crowd was a peaceful bunch, but by the time “Down by the Water” began, the band and audience were synced. The highlight of the show was “The Crane Wife,” as many in attendance sang along.
My Morning Jacket
There was a surprisingly dramatic opening by My Morning Jacket drummer Patrick Hallahan on mallets. The set opened with “Victory Dance” and the music was outstanding. The light show seemed a bit overwhelming since the addition of pyrotechnics. Carl Bromel on keyboards added light-hearted grins during the songs, while singer-guitarist Jim James kept a more serious look throughout the show. James showed his guitar skills on a Gibson Flying V, among other guitars, and channeled the same offbeat musical energy that makes Wayne Coyne, Kevin Barnes and Kevin Drew such successful front men.
Walk the Moon
This show was a big dance party. Walk the Moon opened with “Jenny”. The choruses were easy to sing, and the stage energy gave out an infectious vibe. People in the crowd danced and sung to “Shut up and Dance”. During “Anna Sun”, the crowd was singing along with “this house is falling apart,” during the chorus that ended an exciting set.