by Hadley Schaffer // DJ Duckington
Day 3! The final day! Up to this point, Shaky Knees had already been one of the best experiences of my lifetime, and now I got to live yet another day of it. I was beyond excited to see The Backseat Lovers, who I had just started listening to recently, Modest Mouse, whose discography I had been listening to more than any other Shaky act, and Phoebe Bridgers, who is a modern indie legend; the whole day you could just tell who was there solely for Phoebe (lots of skeleton fits), and it was a LOT of people. If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out my experiences at Day 1 and Day 2 of Shaky!
We arrived at the festival just in time to see The Backseat Lovers at Ponce De Leon, which is the stage known for creating mosh pits. I saw IDLES there the day prior, and that was insane, but I couldn’t imagine The Backseat Lovers carrying that same energy. However, even if it wasn’t the exact same, their performance still managed to make for one of the most fun crowds at the festival. Everyone was jumping in unison for a couple tracks, and it was just pure bliss.
A mosh pit opened up for “Kilby Girl” and “Watch Your Mouth”, but it was fairly tame and definitely matched the vibe of the music. For their closing song, “Sinking Ship,” I locked arms with four or five other people in the pit, and we all jumped around in a circle to the beat. It was so much fun; I’m even missing it while writing this. One of the people in our circle was a guy in a pink cowboy hat, who I saw in just about every mosh pit at the festival, so shout out to him; man was going so hard for all three days, including the IDLES late night show.
After this, my partner and I filled up our water, got some food, and went over to watch Ritt Momney. I’m not overly familiar with his music, but I’ve enjoyed a lot of what I have heard, and his cover of Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On” is fantastic. He put on a pretty nice performance, with some killer vocals here and there, though not as memorable as many others.
After Momney’s set, we went over to Peachtree to take a quick break as we waited for one of my most anticipated sets of the weekend, Modest Mouse. We got pretty close to the stage, around what appeared to be some fairly hardcore fans. We waited for a while until the band finally came out to the first track off of their latest record, The Golden Casket, “Fuck Your Acid Trip.” Honestly, as excited as I was for this set, I left feeling pretty underwhelmed. I considerably prefer their older work to their new stuff, and while they did play a few older tracks, including “Tiny Cities Made of Ashes,” “Dramamine,” and “Paper Thin Walls,” most of their set was newer material.
I don’t hate their new stuff, but I was certainly less excited to hear it live. I was dying to hear songs like “Lounge (Closing Time)” and “Tundra/Desert” in a live setting, and the closest I got was “Doin’ The Cockroach,” which was phenomenal, but it left me wanting so much more. Their set even ran during the most gorgeous sunset of the entire weekend, and they still refused to play the fan favorite “Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset!” I understand if lead vocalist Isaac Brock has a hard time hitting those high notes like he used to, but it still just felt like a let down. His microphone also sounded way too quiet compared to the instruments, which was a slight annoyance throughout the set that I didn’t feel with any other act. Regardless, it was nice to finally see “Float On” and other classic Modest Mouse songs live; I just expected more.
By the end of that set, my partner and I rushed to Piedmont as we heard Phoebe Bridgers opening with her hit song “Motion Sickness.” I almost never hear artists open with their most popular track, but Phoebe is just a different breed I guess. We tried pushing our way up as close as we could get, but these Phoebe fans were BRUTAL. You could tell many of them had been waiting there literally all day for her.
We ended up pretty much near the back of the crowd, but still had a decent view of the stage and a great view of the screen. Phoebe probably had the chillest, quietest set of the weekend, performing almost every track from her latest album Punisher and sprinkling in a few from 2018’s Stranger in the Alps. She was a great performer, giving such genuine commentary between every song, occasionally answering questions from the crowd or bantering with her bandmates, one of whom I guess is an ex of hers (which made for a fun dynamic).
The fans were absolutely insane too; even towards the back we could hear the first several rows screaming every word to every song and chanting “MOMMY!” in between songs. For her closing track, “I Know The End” (my favorite song of hers), she told us that she had one dream: she wanted a mosh pit. So, naturally, I had to get up there. My partner and I pushed our way through, and by the time we heard Phoebe yell “THE END IS HERE” over those gorgeous horns, we were all jumping together. Not much of a mosh pit from what I was able to see, but still a ton of fun and more energy than I ever expected out of a Phoebe Bridgers crowd. Hearing everyone scream in unison during thaat part of the song was astounding; I loved so much.
Finally, the last headliner of the weekend was legendary indie rock band The Strokes. I love their debut, Is This It, but outside of that I’ve honestly never been the biggest fan. We stayed for the first few songs, managed to hear some great moments like “Someday” from their debut and “Brooklyn Bridge To Chorus” from their latest record The New Abnormal, but outside of some cool lighting, I didn’t think it was anything crazy. We did some stupid dancing behind the biggest crowd we had seen all weekend, then walked back to Marta about half an hour before everyone else, beating the mayhem that is closing time.
And that was my weekend. Three of the best days of my life. I think it’s safe to say that Saturday was pretty easily my favorite, but all three were fantastic. Check out my ranking of the top 10 performances I saw at this year’s Shaky Knees here!
I could not be more grateful to Shaky Knees for giving me this opportunity, and I hope to be able to do it all over again next time.
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)