The final day of 2022’s Shaky Knees sent us off with some of the best acts of the weekend. After Saturday, my body was bruised beyond belief from all the mosh pits, and I couldn’t wait for more.
We got to the park just in time for The Garden, one of my favorite bands at the festival. I was supposed to see them at the Masquerade last year, but it was postponed and I couldn’t make the rescheduled date, so I was thrilled to see they’d be taking over Ponce De Leon at Shaky. The crowd was definitely the highlight of their set, with so many people wearing The Garden inspired face paint and some even wearing jester hats. The moshing was as intense as you’d expect a Garden concert to be, with lots of crowd surfing, shoving, and a few injuries. I saw people come out of the pit with blood streaming from their faces, which isn’t something I can say about other sets. Unfortunately, the performance itself left a lot to be desired. There was so much bass that it almost completely drowned out the vocals, making it difficult to tell which songs they were even performing. They seemed really into it, jumping off the speakers and swinging the microphones around, but I just wish their vocals had been turned up so that I could hear anything they were saying. I’m not sure if this is how they always perform or if there was a problem with the sound system or what, but it definitely left me wanting more.
Next, we made our way over to Peachtree for COIN. We honestly weren’t paying very close attention to their set, mostly due to sheer exhaustion, but from what I remember they sounded pretty good live, and they even brought out Faye Webster for a song. Once their set was over, we hung out for a bit, trying to get some rest before Death Cab for Cutie. We ended up finding some shade at Peachtree and sitting there until they came on.
Death Cab for Cutie had such a great setlist, and the music was so soothing and relaxing, which was just what I needed at that moment. I almost fell asleep halfway through their set, so I ended up getting a Red Bull, which woke me right up. Probably the coolest part of their set was when the band left the lead singer on stage alone with an acoustic guitar to perform their biggest song to date, “I Will Follow You into the Dark” from their 2005 album Plans (my favorite record of theirs). The rest of the set was very nice as well, with another highlight being “Soul Meets Body,” from that same album.
We left during Death Cab’s last song to get back to Ponce in time for PUP, and as we were walking, we could already hear “Morbid Stuff” from the 2019 album of the same name. Already, the crowd was going crazy. I was able to hop into the pit in time for the next song, “Kids,” from the same album, and I was having the time of my life. The lead vocalist dissed everyone there, including himself, by saying “so this is where all the losers at Shaky Knees are,” which perfectly captured the band’s angsty music and the people it attracts. The rest of the show was just as fun as the first two songs, never turning down the energy. This was probably the most loving pit I was in all weekend, with so many people giving each other hugs while screaming lyrics at the top of their lungs. At some point, I saw a little kid (no older than eight) crowd surfing, which is not something I’ve ever seen before, but definitely fit the vibe of the show. I made so many new friends in this pit, and I was almost brought to tears on several occasions. The best part of the set was definitely the final two songs, where they played the opening tracks from my favorite album of theirs, 2016’s The Dream Is Over: “If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will” straight into “DVP.” This was exactly how I’d hoped they would end their set, and it felt like a dream to see it actually happen. Definitely one of the best shows of the weekend.
The final headliner of the weekend was none other than the band Shaky Knees was named after: My Morning Jacket. In the third verse of their 2003 song “Steam Engine” (which they did perform), they sing “god damn, those shaky knees,” and Shaky’s founder Tim Sweetwood is such a big fan of theirs that he named the entire festival after it. That being said, this was not the band’s first time performing at Shaky, but it was my first time seeing them, and man do they put on a great show. It didn’t draw as huge of a crowd as the previous two headliners, but that didn’t stop the band from JAMMING for two hours straight. That is how you end a music festival.
I had such a great time at Shaky this year; even with a couple hiccups, I wouldn’t have wanted to spend the weekend anywhere else. Shaky Knees is by far the best music festival I have come across in Atlanta, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store next year for the 10th anniversary!
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)