Shaky Knees 2014 Preview

Last year, Atlanta got its own downtown music festival in Shaky Knees – and got a taste of the rain that marred NYC’s own in-town Governors Ball when it...
Shaky Knees

Shaky Knees 2014 Preview

Last year, Atlanta got its own downtown music festival in Shaky Knees (QRO recap) – and got a taste of the rain that marred NYC’s own in-town Governors Ball when it went big in its third edition that summer (QRO recap).  Shaky Knees could have thrown in the towel in 2014, but instead has gone big in its own second go-round, with three full days that’s centered on Americana rock, but stretches to more, Friday-to-Sunday, May 9th-11th:



Peachtree Stage

The National, 9:00 PM

Cincinnati-by-way-of-Brooklyn’s The National (QRO photos outdoors) hit it big in 2007 with Boxer (QRO review) and tracks like “Fake Empire”, “Mistaken For Strangers”, and “Apartment Story” (QRO video) – and again in 2008 with the Virginia EP (QRO review), but that just presaged 2011’s High Violet (QRO review), which debuted at #3 on the Billboard charts (QRO expanded edition review).  An impressive and much-in-demand act (QRO live review), they’re fitting in nicely as even festival headliner (QRO photos headlining a festival) or curator (QRO photos curating a festival), like at London’s All Tomorrow’s Parties in 2012 (QRO photos).  Blown up to the point that New York Times Magazine ran a feature on them (QRO spotlight on) & Obama used (a family-friendly) bit of “Mr. November” (QRO video at a festival) as a campaign song, The National (QRO photos at a festival) returned from an hiatus last year to take North America by storm (QRO photos headlining a festival) behind Trouble Will Find Me (QRO review), after having done so in Europe (QRO photos in Europe), the festival circuit (QRO photos at a festival), the European festival circuit (QRO photos at a European festival), Canada (QRO photos at a festival in Canada), Boston (QRO photos at a festival in Boston) & their own Brooklyn (QRO photos in Brooklyn).  They look to keep it going (QRO photos in 2014), headlining the first day of Shaky Knees.
The National
Cage the Elephant, 7:00 PM

With hardly a full-length album to their name, Kentucky’s Cage the Elephant (QRO photos) were snatched up by EMI Records at a low-key SXSW showcase.  Following some impressive U.K. airplay, the band packed up and moved to London, where they released their first studio album in 2008.  The following two years were a haze of international touring, late night TV shows, festival appearances (QRO photos at a festival), and preparation for 2011’s Thank You, Happy Birthday, following that up last year with the more indie-influenced Melophobia.  As their blues-y rock infused live show will prove (QRO photos), elephants were never meant to be caged (QRO photos days before).
Cage the Elephant
Dropkick Murphys, 5:00 PM

Just as no town in America is as Irish as Boston, there’s no band more associated with today’s ‘Celtic Punk’ movement than Dropkick Murphys (QRO photos).  They play regular St. Patrick’s Day shows in Beantown – last year’s (QRO review) featured a guest appearance by Seal Team Six!  Of course the Irish-American experience stretches across the country (QRO live review), so expect it to work at Shaky Knees as the band (QRO photos) plays behind last year’s Signed and Sealed In Blood (QRO review) – just don’t wear a Yankees cap (or do a Nazi salute – the bassist clocked a guy doing that at their NYC stop last year…).
Dropkick Murphys
White Denim, 3:00 PM

Out of Austin’s psychedelic rock scene comes White Denim (QRO live review at home in Austin), but they’re more accessible than most psych-rock (QRO photos), if also correspondingly less inspired (QRO photos at a festival).
White Denim
Blood Red Shoes, 1:30 PM

Brighton’s given birth to the smashing (and good-looking – QRO photos at a festival) duo Blood Red Shoes (QRO photos at a festival), who come to Shaky Knees (QRO photos at a festival) behind their recent self-titled release (QRO photos a festival the weekend prior), the follow-up to 2012’s In Time To Voices (QRO review).


Songs For Kids Foundation, 12:30 PM
Blood Red Shoes

Piedmont Stage

Spoon, 8:00 PM

As The Tick would shout, “Spoon!!!”  Austin’s Spoon (QRO live review outdoors) has been turning heads in the indie-sphere for a while with their trademark indie-rock, but with 2007’s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (QRO review) & 2010’s Transference (QRO review), the group (QRO photos at a festival) has launched into the stratosphere, including headlining at New York’s own ultra-upscale Radio City Music Hall (QRO live review).  A festival veteran (QRO photos at a festival), including headlining fests (QRO photos headlining a festival), they come to Shaky Knees behind word of a new album this year.  Three cheers for “The Underdog” (QRO video)!
Foals, 6:00 PM

Oxford, England’s Foals (QRO photos) still haven’t quite shaken off the backhanded compliment label of ‘internet buzz band’, even with 2010’s well-received sophomore release Total Life Forever (QRO review) or last year’s follow-up Holy Fire, but you should really see & judge for yourself (QRO live review) as they come to Shaky Knees on tour (QRO photos from days before).
Band of Skulls, 4:00 PM

It’s rare to find those rock band gems that lay dispersed upon the barren desert that is the music industry.  Luckily, the Band of Skulls (QRO photos) is one of those few gems.  Rooted in the grit and thunderous distortion of classic rock, Band of Skulls (QRO photos at a festival) recently released their latest, Himalayan, and are touring in support of it.
Band of Skulls
Wild Belle, 2:15 PM

Brother-sister outfit Wild Belle (QRO spotlight on) grew up in Chicago but moved out to – where else? – Brooklyn (QRO photos in NYC).  Big brother Elliot Bergmann formed NOMO, but has since teamed up with little sis Natalie (QRO photos).  They (QRO interview) made serious waves with hit indie-reggae single “Keep You” (QRO video), getting signed to Columbia for their debut last year, Isles (QRO review) and hitting the festival circuit for a second summer in a row (QRO photos at a 2013 festival).
Wild Belle

Mutual Benefit, 12:45 PMQRO photos
Mutual Benefit

Ponce de Leon Stage

The Gaslight Anthem, 8:00 PM

The newest band on today’s workingman’s punk wave, New Brunswick, New Jersey’s Gaslight Anthem (QRO photos) borrow from classic punk and more recent predecessors like Flogging Molly (QRO live review) & hometown heroes Bouncing Souls (QRO photos) – but also from the Garden State’s ultimate shining musical light (no, not Sinatra – not even Bon Jovi…), Bruce Springsteen (QRO live review). Once described as the product of some alternate history of rock, where The Boss embraced his early love of The Clash, Gaslight Anthem (QRO photos in the U.K.) have gone even more Boss-like on their two most recent, American Slang (QRO review) and 2012’s Handwritten (QRO review), which have catapulted them up the charts (QRO live review) and into festivals (QRO photos at a festival).  Just hopefully frontman Brian Fallon has stopped talking about Axl Rose (QRO live review where he did that)…
The Gaslight Anthem
The Airborne Toxic Event, 6:00 PM

Mixing rock and orchestral is the über-grand is the ensemble The Airborne Toxic Event (QRO photos), who can hew towards the overwrought, but also know how to perform outdoors (QRO live review outdoors).
Airborne Toxic Event
Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, 4:00 PM

The ‘Screaming Eagle of Soul’, Charles Bradley is one of the many great soul singers to emerge from Brooklyn’s DapTone Records, which also brought the world Sharon Jones  & The Dap-Kings (QRO album review) and Budos Band (QRO album review), but Bradley more than stands on his own, from festivals (QRO photos at a festival), to topping the bill at the one-and-only Apollo Theater (QRO photos)!
Charles Bradley
The Whigs, 2:15 PM

Outta nearby Athens, Georgia, The Whigs are into their second decade of southern garage rock together, touring behind 2012’s Enjoy the Company.


American Aquarium, 12:45 PM
The Whigs

Boulevard Stage

Graveyard, 7:00 PM

The hard & heavy music in Sweden tends towards the death metal (“We love it because it reminds us of death!” the Swedish consul to Springfield exclaimed, erroneously calling Judas Priest death metal…), Graveyard (QRO photos at a festival) doesn’t go overboard, but rather stays in the heavy arena (despite their name).
Man Man, 5:00 PM

There might not be a wilder band – live (QRO live review) or on record (QRO album review) – than Philadelphia’s Man Man (QRO live review).  The self-described ‘Viking-vaudeville’ collective (QRO photos at a festival) bring a powerful percussion and more, setting up right at the lip of the stage, dressed in tennis whites and war paint, with more instruments than you can throw a stick at (QRO photos at a festival).   And things only get crazier outside. (QRO photos outdoors) – especially at a festival (QRO photos at a festival), playing off of 2011’s Life Fantastic (QRO review) and last year’s On Oni Pond (QRO review).
Man Man
The Bright Light Social Hour, 3:00 PM

More recently on the scene is Austin’s own Bright Light Social Hour, who swept the Austin Music Awards in 2011 at SXSW (QRO recap) and have just kept on going since (QRO live review in Austin).


Sleeper Agent, 1:30 PM
The Bright Light Social Hour




Peachtree Stage

Modest Mouse, 9:30 PM

Washington State’s Modest Mouse (QRO photos) broke through to mainstream success in 2004 with Good News For People Who Like Bad News, and followed that up by adding Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr for 2007’s We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank (QRO review) – unfortunately, Marr has since left to join the even younger Cribs (QRO live review) and then solo (QRO live review).  But they’re still big enough to even headline (QRO photos headlining a festival), are great outdoors (QRO photos outdoors), and word is they’re finally working on a new album (QRO photos at a recent festival).
Modest Mouse
Conor Oberst, 7:00 PM

Welcome back, Conor Oberst (QRO photos at a festival).  As Bright Eyes (QRO photos), Conor Oberst won legions of hearts (including Summer’s on The O.C.QRO Music of The O.C.), but after 2007’s Cassadega (QRO review), he dropped the name and strayed into unfortunate country terrain (QRO live review).  In 2011, not only did the Bright Eyes name come back (QRO live review outdoors), but also the Bright Eyes (QRO photos at a festival) sound on The People’s Key (QRO review).  Last year he revived his early agit-punk band, Desaparecidos (QRO live review), but he’s shifted back to being Mr. Oberst once again for this year’s upcoming Upside Down Mountain, so who knows what to expect…
Bright Eyes
Dawes, 5:00 PM

An up-and-coming Americana indie outfit (QRO photos) that’s come up, Dawes (QRO photos at a festival) hail from Los Angeles’ Laurel Canyon (QRO photos outdoors), out last year with third release Stories Don’t End – and neither do they (QRO photos), as they come to Shaky Knees (QRO photos at a festival).
Tokyo Police Club, 3:00 PM

When Tokyo Police Club (QRO live review) exploded onto the scene with such songs as “Cheer It On” (QRO video) and “Your English Is Good” (QRO video), the young (Toronto) band delivered – but could they age well (QRO photos)?  Well, Dave Monks (QRO photos), Greg Alsop (QRO interview), Graham Wright (QRO interview), and Josh Hook (QRO photos) have, with 2008’s Elephant Shell (QRO review) & 2010’s Champ (QRO review) finding that sweet spot between growing up and staying young with new greats like “Tessellate” (QRO video), “Frankenstein” (QRO video), and “Favourite Food” (QRO video) – and staying a definite QRO favourite (QRO spotlight on).  They come to Shaky Knees (QRO photos at a festival) behind their new Forcefield (QRO review).
Tokyo Police Club

Apache Relay, 1:30 PM QRO photos outdoors

Songs For Kids Foundation, 12:30 PM
Apache Relay

Piedmont Stage

The Replacements, 8:00 PM

When the Pixies (QRO live review) reunited at Coachella in 2004, we couldn’t have known how far and how great the trend of alt-rock reunions would become in this century/millennium.  There’s been Dinosaur Jr. (QRO live review), Pavement (QRO live review), and now The Replacements!  The band basically originated/defined ‘college rock’ in the eighties with classic albums on local indie imprint Twin/Tone (QRO deluxe edition reviews), before graduating to major label status for the second half of their impressive discography (QRO deluxe edition reviews).
They called it quits in 1991, well after members like guitarist Bob Stinson and drummer Chris Mars had left, with only singer/guitarist Paul Westerberg and bassist Tommy Stinson remaining from the original line-up.  Westerberg went on to a successful solo career, while Tommy Stinson (QRO solo photos) has managed to be the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll utility player, working in such outfits as Soul Asylum and even Guns n’ Roses (QRO photos at a festival), plus doing his own solo material (QRO solo album review).  Bob Stinson unfortunately passed away in 1995, and more recently his ‘replacement’ Slim Dunlap was hospitalized from a severe stroke – which led to tons of musicians who were influenced by The Replacements to do a series of special, limited edition seven-inches in Dunlap’s benefit.
And most recently, Tommy teamed up with Westerberg and Mars for the Songs For Slim EP (QRO review) – and now a full-fledged reunion (QRO photos of first reunion appearance – though Mars seems to prefer the life off the road – or just still can’t work with Westerberg…)!  It was over twenty years ago that The Replacements were one-by-one replaced by their roadies at the band’s final concert in Chicago’s Grant Park (famed as the ‘It’s Not Over ‘Til the Last Roadie Plays’ concert), and last year they returned to that stage (QRO photos at a Chicago festival).  Even if you’re too young to have caught ‘The Mats’ in their heyday, catch ‘em now, ‘cause you don’t want to be like Art Brut (QRO interview), “How have I only just discovered The Replacements?!?”
(now if we can only get a reunion from ‘other’ great band from Minneapolis, Hüsker Dü – QRO spotlight on…)
The Replacements
Portugal. The Man, 6:00 PM

This West Coast draws from far up its shore with Alaska’s Portugal. The Man (QRO photos at a festival). The rambling grunge outfit garnered new fans with 2007 sophomore release Church Mouth (QRO review), and its unhinged alt-rock (QRO live review), though slipped somewhat since then, even while finally playing Europe (QRO photos at a European festival) and becoming a festival favorite (QRO photos at a festival). Their major label debut In the Mountain In the Cloud (QRO review) was more psych-lite, but they still bring it live (QRO live review), and come Down Under (QRO photos at a festival) after last year’s release of follow-up Evil Friends (QRO review) and hitting both the festival circuit (QRO photos at a 2013 festival) and live gigs (QRO 2013 live review).
Portugal. The Man
Lord Huron, 4:00 PM

Los Angeles label IAMSOUND is best known for electronic acts, but found a nice local indie-folk act in Lord Huron (QRO photos in Los Angeles).
Lord Huron
Hayes Carll, 2:15 PM

Austin’s Hayes Carll (QRO photos) proves that being independent isn’t limited to indie.  The country-folk singer/songwriter turned down a multi-album deal from Sugar Hill Records to release his Little Rock on his own label – and it became the first self-released record to reach #1 on the Americana charts.  He did eventually sign with Universal imprint Lost Highway, and comes to Shaky Knees behind 2011’s KMAG YOYO.
Hayes Carll

Wake Owl, 12:45 PMQRO photos at a festival
Wake Owl

Ponce de Leon Stage

Jenny Lewis, 8:00 PM

If you like alternative music in the twenty-first century, chances are you already know Jenny Lewis (QRO photos).  The former child star came to the music scene co-fronting Los Angeles’ Rilo Kiley (QRO album review) in the prior decade (QRO photos), before going solo with Rabbit Fur Coat and 2008’s Acid Tongue (QRO review).  In 2010 she teamed up with boyfriend Jonathan Rice as Jenny & Johnny (QRO photos at a festival) for I’m Having Fun Now (QRO review).  Last year, she reprised one of her many guest vocalist roles (others have included with Elvis Costello & Conor Oberst – see above & QRO live review together) on the reunion tour of indietronica all-stars Postal Service (QRO photos) behind the tenth anniversary edition of the ultra-acclaimed Give Up (QRO review).  For Shaky Knees, however, she comes to shine all on her own.
Jenny Lewis
Cold War Kids, 6:00 PM

After a string of EPs, Fullerton, California’s Cold War Kids (QRO photos) blew up in 2006 with their full-length debut, Robbers & Cowards.  While 2008’s Loyalty to Loyalty (QRO review) suffered something of a sophomore slump, 2011’s Mine Is Yours (QRO review) and last year’s Miss Lonelyhearts (QRO review) lifted things somewhat, and their live show (QRO photos) is still electric, especially outside (QRO live review outdoors) or at festivals (QRO photos at a festival), as they still ring with singles (QRO photos), from the more recent “Mine Is Yours” and “Audience” (QRO video) to their break-outs “We Used To Vacation”, “Hospital Beds” (QRO video), and “Hang Me Out To Dry” (QRO video).
Cold War Kids
The Lone Bellow, 4:00 PM

Zach Williams’ wife suffered temporary paralysis following or horseback riding accident, with which he responded by learning to play guitar – and has made it far enough to form his own band, The Lone Bellow (QRO photos outdoors at a festival).
The Lone Bellow

Gregory Alan Isakov, 2:15 PM

Fly Golden Eagle, 12:45 PM
Gregory Alan Isakov

Boulevard Stage

Houndmouth, 7:00 PM

From somewhere others consider nowhere, New Albany, Indiana, Houndmouth have managed to make it by working the Americana rock road.
PHOX, 5:00 PM

Madison, Wisconsin’s musical success story of last year, PHOX have emerged from that college town in quick time, and come to Shaky Knees before next month’s release of their debut, self-titled full-length.

The Districts, 3:00 PM QRO photos at a festival

Packway Handle Band, 1:30 PM
The Districts




Peachtree Stage

Alabama Shakes, 9:10 PM

Actually from Alabama, throwback rock ‘n’ rollahs Alabama Shakes (QRO photos at a festival) are well loved from their numerous, energetic live shows, which got them a slew of Grammy nominations last year, and have launched them into headline status at Shaky Knees.
Alabama Shakes
Local Natives, 6:45 PM

Silver Lake’s Local Natives (QRO photos at a festival) have been riding the alt-country/folk wave, but seem to be doing it better than most, charting in 2010 with debut Gorilla Manor and 2012’s Hummingbird (QRO review), moving up to headliner tours (QRO live review), and well-received on the festival circuit (QRO photos at a festival), including old England (QRO photos at an English festival).
Local Natives
Iron & Wine, 4:45 PM

As Iron & Wine (QRO photos), Samuel Beam has become one of the leading voices in today’s alt-folk troubadour arena, making it to #6 on the Billboard charts with 2011’s Kiss Each Other Clean (QRO review), despite it being a bit of a slide in accomplishment.  Beam & co. (QRO live review) come to Shaky Knees behind 2012’s follow-up, Ghost on Ghost.
Iron & Wine
Deer Tick, 3:00 PM

The dirty side of alt-country garage-rock comes to Boston Calling in the form of Deer Tick (QRO photos outdoors), who’ve been rockin’ bigger & bigger stages (QRO photos) and wilder & wilder shows (QRO live review) since the release in 2012 of their latest, Divine Providence (QRO review).
Deer Tick

San Fermin, 1:30 PM QRO photos at a festival

Songs For Kids Foundation, 12:30 PM
San Fermin

Piedmont Stage

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, 7:45 PM

Alex Ebert, former singer of Ima Robot (QRO interview), got a ton of buzz right after forming Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros (QRO live review) – is it justified, or just PR hype (QRO spotlight on)?  Judge for yourself (QRO photos at a festival) – but watch out for him jumping into the crowd (QRO live review), like at so many festivals (QRO photos at a festival)!
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Trampled by Turtles, 5:45 PM

From frigid Duluth comes the warm jam-folk of Trampled by Turtles (QRO photos), who are hitting up Shaky Knees after doing a number of festivals last summer (QRO photos outdoors).
Trampled By Turtles
Jason Isbell, 3:45 PM

Still probably best known for his work in Shaky Knees ’12 performer Drive-By Truckers (QRO album review, post-Isbell), since driving off in 2008 Isbell (QRO photos at a festival) has been focused on his solo work (QRO photos solo at a festival), most recently with last year’s Southeastern.
Jason Isbell
Langhorne Slim & The Law, 2:15 PM

Pennsylvania’s Langhorne Slim (QRO live review) rides with more of an upswing, most recently on 2012’s The Way We Move (QRO review), 2009’s Be Set Free (QRO review), and his self-titled 2008 release (QRO review), so come to the “Rebel Side of Heaven” (QRO video) with Langhorne Slim (QRO photos) – and The Law (QRO photos).


Benjamin Booker, 12:45 PM
Langhorne Slim

Ponce de Leon Stage

Violent Femmes, 7:45 PM

The New Wave that acts like The Talking Heads ushered in back in the eighties saw a number of ‘geek rock’ outfits grab the listening public, from They Might Be Giants (QRO live review) to Violent Femmes (QRO photos outdoors), who hit it big in 1983 with the self-titled debut and singles such as “Blister In the Sun” and “Kiss Off”.  Follow-up records didn’t find the same success, and the band went on numerous hiatuses/break-ups.  Drummer Victor DeLorenzo left in 1993 only to return in 2002, but the biggest split was between singer/guitarist Gordon Gano and bassist Brian Ritchie over Gano selling the rights to “Blister” to be used in a Wendy’s commercial in 2007.  A lawsuit ensued, and this break-up seemed to be for good, but this year they’ve somehow reunited again for another run at the festival circuit (QRO photos at a festival), though DeLorenzo’s left again, to be replaced by Brian Vigilione of Dresden Dolls (QRO photos with Vigilione at a festival).
Violent Femmes
The Hold Steady, 5:45 PM

Brooklyn’s The Hold Steady (QRO photos at a festival) have reached serious heights with their classic rock and singer/guitarist Craig Finn’s talk-sing storytelling – even got an appearance on The Colbert Report!  They’re also incredibly overrated, but certainly have fun outdoors (QRO live review outdoors).  They come to Shaky Knees (QRO photos at a festival the weekend before) behind their sixth full-length, March’s Teeth Dreams.
The Hold Steady
Blitzen Trapper, 3:45 PM

While some of the ‘sweet seventies’ revival has been overhyped [cough-Fleet Foxes-QRO album review-cough], Portland’s Blitzen Trapper (QRO photos) deserved their praise, as they add in some freak to their folk.  After self-releasing their first three records (including 2007’s Wild Mountain NationQRO review), they signed to Sub Pop for the excellent Furr (QRO review), 2010’s Destroyer of the Void (QRO review), and 2011’s American Goldwing (QRO review), before moving to Vagrant for last year’s VII.  And their live show (QRO live review) has stayed strong.
Blitzen Trapper

Mason Jennings, 2:15 PM

Paperbird, 12:45 PM
Mason Jennings

Boulevard Stage

Kopecky Family Band, 6:45 PM

From outta Nashville comes Kopecky Family Band (QRO photos at a festival), who 2012 debut Kids Raising Kids was re-released last year by major imprint ATO.
Kopecky Family Band
Jackie Greene, 4:45 PM

Jackie Greene (QRO photos) started his roots Americana out of his garage with self-released debut Gone Wanderin’, and has kept on wanderin’ – including joining The Black Crowes last year!
Jackie Greene

The Weeks, 3:00 PM

Crass Mammoth, 1:30 PM
The Weeks




MetronomyFriday, May 9th
Terminal West
Metronomy, 12:00 AM
Cloud Control, 11:00 PM

The Earl
Man Man, 12:30 AM
The Black Cadillacs, 11:30 PM

The Masquerade: Hell
Deer Tick, 12:30 AM
Clear Plastic Masks, 11:30 PM

Ghost, 11:15 PM
King Dude, 10:15 PM
Bombus, 9:30 PM

Vinyl @ Centerstage
Roadkill Ghost Choir, 12:30 AM
New Madrid, 11:30 PM


Saturday, May 10th

Terminal West
Lord Huron, 12:30 AM
Roadkill Ghost ChoirBoom Forest, 11:30 PM

The Earl
The Whigs, 12:30 AM
The Districts, 11:30 PM

The Masquerade: Hell
Tokyo Police Club, 12:30 AM
Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun, 11:30 PM

Spoon, 12:30 AM
Wake Owl, 11:30 PM

The FaintVinyl @ Centerstage
The Lone Bellow, 12:30 AM
Andrew Combs, 11:30 PM

The Masquerade: Heaven
The Faint, 12:30 AM



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