Day 3 began the same as the previous day: wanting more sleep and wishing the coffee was being intravenously infused into my blood stream because I was feeling pretty exhausted. In between sips of coffee, I tried to re-plan my day since the clock was ticking past my previous agenda. My epic plan on getting to the park before 1:15 pm for Mini Mansions performing on the main stage was very ambitious. So 2:00 pm became more reasonable as I got the motivation (thanks Aurora Coffee for the pick me up!) to go try and catch some of The Mowgli’s and Preservation Hall Jazz Band (PHJB). I also felt a little sad knowing that this was the last day of the festival and that the next day would be not as enjoyable since I would be sitting in my office. But on the other hand, watching Tame Impala close out the weekend was a pretty good trade off.
I managed to walk upon the Buford Hwy. Stage right as The Mowgli’s started to play their hit, “I’m Good”, so I did not feel bad for not staying long in lieu of PHJB playing with an open field and all the people enjoying the sunshine. By the time I made it to the field, the band was in full swing belting out some major tunes while the crowd enjoyed the beautiful spring afternoon in Atlanta. A personal favorite of mine, PHJB played a great set in the short time they were given this Sunday and the crowd enjoyed every second they played. I bolted as soon as the band finished with a journey ahead of me back to the Boulevard Stage for The Sheepdogs performance. Based out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (formed in 2006), this band has signed with Atlantic Records and will have Patrick Carney, of The Black Keys fame, produce their new album. This band was introduced to me at Bonnaroo in 2013 by a good friend from Brandon, Manitoba, Canada… she told me to keep an eye on them and she was right. Thanks Shawna! And special thanks to who posted this awesome video of The Sheepdogs playing live at Shaky Knees: https://youtu.be/gbTj4wVke1w. If you like this video, then you will really dig these guys.
Decision time: Stay for the entire Sheepdogs set or leave early to get a good spot to see Best Coast at the Piedmont Stage. I chose the latter since I had never seen Best Coast (they are a guilty pleasure of mine). Formed in 2009 by Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno, this indie pop duo have released three albums with California Nights being the latest. It just so happened to be Bobb’s birthday and when Bethany informed the crowd, we all sang “Happy Birthday” to him! Talk about southern hospitality. Best Coast played a crowd pleasing 15 song set that included “Feeling OK”, “California Nights”, and “Crazy for You” to name a few. I was really impressed with their performance and would recommend them as a must see if you get the chance. Up next would be another great band I first saw at a past Bonnaroo, Dr. Dog was performing on the Peachtree Stage and we were are excited for this event.
Dr. Dog is a really chill Indie rock band from West Grove, Pennsylvania that formed way back in 1999 with Toby Leaman (bass), Scott McMicken (lead guitar), Frank McElroy (rhythm guitar), Zach Miller (keyboard), Eric Slick (drums) and Dimitri Manos (multi-instruments). Dr. Dog played what I consider to be one of the best list of tracks that they could have played to fans new and old. Back-to-back performances of “Be the Void” and “These Days” was a pretty awesome moment during the hour given, two of my favorite songs by them. They even pleased the crowd by ending the set with their cover of Architecture in Helsinki’s, “Heart it Races”. That is an amazing tune that really sounds great coming from Dr. Dog as if it was their own. Unfortunately, their set was done, but I was not sad at all.
Why, you may ask? Because it was time for Panda Bear on the Buford Hwy Stage… but the only drawback was that this was at 5:45-6:45 and I think a late night performance would’ve been best for his show. Don’t get me wrong I am not complaining because I really wanted to see Noah Benjamin Lennox a.k.a. Panda Bear live, just hope to see a late night session at Bonnaroo next year. Check out this video of the song “Boys Latin” taken during Shaky Knees Music and Arts Festival: https://youtu.be/rxzIBvtNKXg. It was just as much fun as you think it was from the video… well maybe a little more. Panda Bear played a 10 song set that included “Boys Latin”, “Crosswords”, “Faces in the Crowd”, and “Acid Wash”. Such a great show by a talented musician who had the crowd in the palm of his hands the entire time. Numerous beach balls were sent into the air during the first song and continued on throughout his hour performance. One of the best performances of the day goes to Panda Bear hands down… I recommend catching him at any festival or local performance that comes close to you.
My plan for the evening now rested on refueling and relaxing before Tame Impala took the main stage, but in order to do so I was going to skip the next hour block (6:45-7:45) which was Ryan Adams and Xavier Rudd & The United Nations. Sacrifices must be made for the good of the cause and this would be my offering for the festival gods to ensure I would be at peak performance from 7:45-10:30 for RIDE and Tame Impala. Like the day before, the lines were pretty long everywhere except the pizza truck… so we all know what I did. Pizza was my savior all weekend… I have accepted it and I’m okay with it. The brief interlude was much needed and came at the right time in the day. I figured I would head back to the Piedmont Stage around 7:20 in order to secure a good spot for RIDE. RIDE is an alternative rock band (1988-1996; 2001; 2014-present) from Oxford, England that played a very influential part in the early onset of the “shoegaze” music movement in the early 1990s. After they broke up in 1996, Andy Bell (bass) became the bass player for Oasis and the rest was history.
They are still considered to have one of the most defining albums, Nowhere, in the “shoegaze” genre to date. Their set included 14 tracks compassing their four studio albums, most notably; “Chelsea Girl”, “Dreams Burn Down”, “Vapour Trail”, and “Leave Them All Behind”. After watching this performance, it made me rethink not acting faster to get a Late Night ticket for their sold out show at Terminal West on Friday. RIDE was really good this Sunday evening and put on one of the best performances of the weekend. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness these guys play their hearts out to the fans (new and old) that had gathered. A few around me talked about their Friday late night show and how spectacular it was at Terminal West. If you had a chance to witness these guys play on this current brief North American tour, consider yourself very lucky. Speaking of being lucky, the next and last act for the weekend was upcoming and we were all very excited.
Tame Impala had gotten the stage prepared by the time I had arrived to meet up with my crew. Upon first look, I knew that this was going to be worth the wait with the backdrop set up on the stage. Last time I saw them (Bonnaroo 2013), I was not so lucky to get as close as I wanted, but this time was a different story. Since RIDE, Old Crow Medicine Show and Minus The Bear all played prior to Tame Impala, the crowd was still making its way to the main stage for the weekend’s finale. Lucky us! They started off their 15 song set (the last song being the encore, “Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control”) with “Intro” before leading into the new single, “Let It Happen”. The crowd went ballistic with beach balls bouncing aimlessly into the crowd until being sent back into the air for the next person. Some people had brought some toilet paper (or some form of rolled up lightweight paper) and tossed it into the air for streaming streaks across the landscape of Tame Impala’s performance.
What I came to realize about this band early on was that with Kevin Parker (vocals and guitar) was in it for the music and the expression of his art. This experimental, psychedelic rock/pop hybrid echoes The Beatles at times to me with Parker’s vocals soothing through the chorus of many of their tracks. Maybe it’s me, but I often think of them as how The Beatles would have sounded in today’s music scene. But I digress, “Mind Mischief” was next on deck and that kept the crowd at a constant level of excitement as they played the song seamlessly with the backdrop ever-changing from one trippy scene to another. A few songs would pass before they played “Elephant” to a very pleased crowd and most especially this guy. I found a recording of it so you can feel the experience as well- https://youtu.be/RI8k8TPPgZA. Sheer madness I tell you… so much fun and just watching this video again makes me feel like I am back in the park as I type this article. That is the magic that is Tame Impala, the ability to take you out of your present element and into a place of tranquility and calmness mixed with a little ‘happy chaos’ for good measure. A few songs later we were introduced to a newer track entitled, “Eventually”, which basically was another great reason to want their new album Currents to hurry up and get released later this summer (July 18th).
The last two songs (before doing the encore) were “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” and then finally ending with “Apocalypse Dreams”. As the band left the stage, the crowd cheered for one more song as the lights shined overhead. When the band came back on stage, even Parker admitted that they did not plan an encore but were obliged with such a crowd reaction since leaving the stage. The encore track was a song that Parker said is not a normal track that they play at festivals. So playing “Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control” was a treat for the crowd that stayed. These Aussie musicians captivated the crowd until the last note was played for the night. The crowd and band said their ‘good-byes’ until next time we meet… the weekend had ended too quickly. It just seemed like hours before I arrived to get my wristband to enter the festival but it was in fact time to head home after a great experience in Atlanta, Georgia.
Day 3 at Shaky Knees ended after watching nine (9) acts bringing the weekend total to thirty (30) artists. That would also include a lot of trekking back and forth to each stage and often rushing to make sure I did not miss much of the scheduled performance. This weekend was indeed a great time and would be a ‘must do’ annually with a line-up comparable to this year’s Shaky Knees Music and Arts Festival. For the average festival goer, this was a very fun and safe festival that made many memories filled with laughter and smiles. I will not forget this weekend because I made some new friends and isn’t that what it is all about? Making friends… a connection with another human being that is on the same ‘wave-length’. Music brings together like-minded people from all over… these people all have one thing in common- the love of music. Live music is the soundtrack to life (where have I seen that phrase before?). Life is music, and music is life. I want to personally thank Crissa Requate at Mason Jar Media for giving ConcertHopper.com the opportunity to cover this amazing festival. Cannot wait to see what the Shaky Knees Music and Arts Festival will bring to us in 2016, if it is anything like it has been in the last three years then early bird tickets are a pretty stellar idea.
(To be continued during May 13th-15th, 2016)