by Hadley Schaffer // DJ Duckington
The second day of Shaky Knees somehow managed to top the first. The acts I was most excited for were Arlo Parks, IDLES (again), and Run The Jewels. Arlo Parks’ Collapsed In Sunbeams has been one of my favorite albums to come out of this year since its release in January, IDLES I had just seen the night before and were incredible, and Run The Jewels I have loved for over five years but had never gotten a chance to see live.
We had an earlier start to the day than Friday, getting to the park around 2pm. My leg was still hurting from the night before, but I took some Advil and stayed strong. We got to the Peachtree stage just in time to see Arlo come out to “Hurt” while wearing a black Daniel Johnston “Hi, How Are You?” shirt. She had a fairly short set, only performing nine songs total, eight of which were from her debut album (the exception being “Cola”), and she killed every track. Even with such a short set, she managed to play just about everything I wanted to hear from her, including my favorites, “Black Dog” and “Hope” (her closing tracks). During “Caroline,” she had the crowd sing along to the chorus, and it was very cool to hear. I hope she continues gaining popularity and has an even later set time next year.
After this, my partner and I broke for food, stopping at Flaming Wok for some genuinely great teriyaki chicken with fried rice. After this, we waited at Peachtree for Mercury Rev to come on. I’ve only heard their 1998 record Deserter’s Songs, but it is fantastic, so I was excited to see how their music translated into a live setting. And I was not disappointed. We sat towards the back of the field, so we weren’t able to see much, but the sounds were just unbelievable. It was like being transported to another planet for the entire set. They only played six songs total (three from the album I knew), but I’m almost certain they expanded just about every instrumental section they could, making for a truly extraordinary live set.
Next, we took another break for food until Garbage came on at 5:45. Honestly, we weren’t particularly taken away by the start of their set, so we went to check out Suki Waterhouse instead, whom I had never actually heard of. She had a really nice, chill set and seemed like a very sincere person, telling us how her music made the sad parts of her life feel easier and giving us personal life stories between songs. She was just really sweet and delivered a much better performance than I anticipated.
After that, we walked over to the Piedmont stage for a polar opposite performance from The Hives, a Swedish rock band who came out in all white suits. I was familiar with some of their hits, like “Hate To Say I Told You So” and “Tick Tick Boom,” but I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from a live set. They managed to shock me and blow my expectations out of the water.
The lead singer was hilariously cocky, constantly reminding the audience of how much they should love his band and always referring to Atlanta as Atlantis. Some of my favorite quotes were “I know that no matter how much I love you all, you love The Hives just a little bit more” and “Atlantis, you have been underneath the sea for 50,000 years; now you surface to hear The Hives play fast rock and roll music.” There was a mosh pit for every song, the singer came into the crowd to perform, and they jokingly ended the set early before performing multiple more tracks as an encore. It was just a ton of fun, and The Hives have definitely gained me as a fan.
After this, we considered staying at Peachtree for Portugal. The Man, but instead decided to hang out by Ponce De Leon and wait for IDLES. It would be my second time seeing them this weekend (my third time seeing them total), and I couldn’t have been more excited. As soon as they came on stage and started playing “Mr. Motivator”, the whole crowd rushed forward, erupting into yet another mosh pit. They skipped “Colossus,” so I was very glad I had gone to their headlining show the night before.
The crowd was just about as crazy as before, but I managed to make it out with no injuries this time. Their set was about 30 minutes shorter, cutting out the new song and a couple others, but it had just as much energy. I pretty much let the crowd devour me the entire time, and I finally got to mosh to the songs I had to sit out for previously. Mark Bowen ended up yelling covers and screaming into the crowd again, this time while wearing a dress, and Lee Kiernan hopped into the crowd to mosh with his guitar again as well. I’m so glad I was able to see these guys twice in a row; they seriously put on one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. If you ever have the chance to see them live, I could not recommend it more.
During IDLES’ last song, “Rottweiler,” my partner and I ran all the way back to Peachtree to secure a decent spot for Run The Jewels. Killer Mike and El-P came out to “yankee and the brave (ep. 4),” and I immediately wanted to mosh, but the people around me weren’t really feeling it. They continued to play the next four tracks from RTJ4, and the crowd remained pretty dead.
After “goonies vs. E.T.” we heard the bass signaling “Blockbuster Night, Pt. 1” from Run The Jewels 2, and people still weren’t doing anything. By this point I was a bit frustrated; Mike and El were giving us so much energy on stage, and the crowd (at least where I was at) wasn’t giving any in return. Finally, they played “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry,” and as soon as that beat changed, I lost it. Thankfully, so did the people around me; we went absolutely crazy for the last few verses and kept the same energy for the next song, “Legend Has it” from Run The Jewels 3.
I was so happy to finally hear “and the crowd goes” “RTJ!” in real life; it was such an incredible experience. After this song, someone pointed me in the direction of an actual mosh pit towards the front, so my partner and I pushed through until we found it. We were right on time, because the next song was “walking in the snow,” my favorite from RTJ4 and one of the hardest tracks of the setlist. The next several songs were fantastic as well; I was so glad to have found the mosh pit and was having the time of my life.
Finally seeing “Lie, Cheat, Steal” and “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)" live will stick with me for the rest of my life. Towards the end of the set, Mike brought out his family and said a few words before performing “a few words for the firing squad (radiation).” After this, they left the stage, and, after much chanting for an encore, returned to perform one last song, the title track “Run the Jewels” from Run the Jewels by Run The Jewels.
As a whole, this was an unforgettable set, and I’m so grateful to have finally seen them live. The one thing that upset me was that they didn’t perform “Call Ticketron,” which I believe everyone else wanted as well, because almost everyone stayed by the stage chanting for another encore way after the set ended. Honestly, they could have taken “Stay Gold” or “Don’t Get Captured” off the setlist and played it instead, and I think their set would have only benefited, since “Call Ticketron” is such a fan favorite and one of their most heavy hitting songs. Regardless, RTJ definitely killed it as a headliner, and I hope I have the opportunity to see them again sometime soon.
And that was day 2! I was completely exhausted by the end of it, but still incredibly excited for the final day. You can read about my day 3 experience here!
This show is all over the place. Punk, pop, electronic, rap, various duck noises; you never know what you're gonna get, so there's bound to be a little something for everyone! (except for my grandfather, who hates all of it)