One of the biggest trends in major music festivals over the past few years has been the return of artists who’ve been in the shadows for many years. Artists like OutKast, Pavement and the Stone Roses have used the American festival circuit to begin touring again to huge audiences. Shaky Knees has been no exception to this trend. Last year, The Replacements announced Shaky Knees as one of their few initial dates for their high-profile reunion. This year, the Atlanta festival has brought in several acts that fans have been waiting to see in the Southeast for a long time, including some making their Atlanta debut.
It’s difficult to believe but it’s been around four years since The Strokes reconvened after their extended hiatus, which began after 2006’s First Impressions of Earth tour ended. During that break, the band focused on solo projects, but eventually reunited for 2011’s Angles followed by 2013’s Comedown Machine. Throughout The Strokes’ second stint together, touring has often been sporadic while the band took breaks to work on other material. Singer Julian Casablancas recently released a record with his band, Julian Casablancas + The Voidz and spent some time working with Daft Punk on Random Access Memories. Shaky Knees marks The Strokes’ first appearance in Atlanta in almost 10 years. Despite the breadth of more recent material that the band has at their disposal– and rumors of even more songs forthcoming–fans can expect plenty of old favorites from the band’s Friday night headlining set from 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Peachtree Stage, including “Hard to Explain” and the band’s iconic hit “Reptilia.”
One of the biggest lineup additions to the already packed Shaky Knees lineup was the return of British shoegaze legend Ride. The band announced their full reunion in late 2014 and made a high-profile appearance this year at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival to great reception. Shaky Knees marks the only opportunity to see Ride in the Southeast. Their set at Coachella, and at surrounding venues in California, heavily favored the band’s first two albums, Nowhere and Going Blank Again, both widely regarded as classics within the shoegaze genre. Ride plays the penultimate time slot of the festival on Sunday from 7:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Piedmont Stage. They will also play a separately ticketed show on Friday May 8th at Terminal West.
One of the most pleasantly surprising reunions of the past few years has been the return of the Champaign-Urbana, Ill. group American Football. Their self-titled album, and still their only LP, is now 15 years old. The band reunited last year for a small number of shows so fans who discovered their album long after the group disbanded could have the chance to hear “Never Meant” live. While American Football sold little when it was initially released on the beloved Champaign-Urbana based label Polyvinyl, the record has since gained a devoted and rabid following as a classic of emo and math rock. Fans can hear the group’s only currently scheduled Southeastern appearance on Friday from 7:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. at the Boulevard stage.
Despite having released 4 acclaimed solo records in the past 11 years, Noah Lennox has yet to appear as Panda Bear in Georgia. Shaky Knees brings Lennox’s psychedelic pop music to Atlanta as he continues to tour in promotion of this year’s Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper. That album features lots of pop gems, as it is perhaps Lennox’s most accessible solo album thanks to its soaring melodies, groovy rhythmic backbone and gorgeous production from Sonic Boom. The Baltimore native and current Lisbon resident will perform on Sunday from 5:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. at the Buford Highway stage, likely backed by a projection of psychedelic video.
– Andy Tabeling