Shaky Knees 2018 Day 2: Queens of the Stone Age, The War on Drugs, Matt and Kim, Manchester Orchestra and more rock

By Erica A. Hernandez/AJC

(This story was originally posted at 12:01 a.m. May 6, 2018)

Shaky Knees Music Festival returned to Central Park after two years at Centennial Olympic Park. The second day of the rock festival started a little overcast and was a cooler 78 degrees around 2 p.m. The sun stayed away most of the day but the rain did not. Festivalgoers suffered through a brief afternoon shower that delayed the show about 15 minutes.

Day 2 of the three-day festival kept the energy high, with plenty of acts to choose from, including: Queens of the Stone Age, Parquet Courts, Matt and Kim, The Distillers, The War on Drugs and Manchester Orchestra. 

Here is a recap of Saturday's festivities:

Parquet Courts

“I hope you all have picked a horse and you win a bunch of money, like me. And happy Cinco de Mayo!”

The American rock band from New York didn’t shy away from celebrating the two main events happening on this day, May 5, by paying homage to Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby during their set.

They took to the Piedmont stage at 4:30 p.m. for a jam-packed hour-long set that opened with “Total Football” off their forthcoming 2018 album (“Wide Awake!”).

That was followed by “Dust,” off the band’s 2016 album titled “ Human Performance." The chorus “dust is everywhere” rang true, as the band performed at the Piedmont stage -- where there was more dust in the air than grass on the ground.

The band then introduced another song off their upcoming album, “Before the water gets too high" -- for which guitarist, Andrew Savage played an Omnichord.

Parquet Courts's set was heavily laced with new songs. When they performed the title track off their upcoming album, a surprising number of people were jamming out and dancing to it. It didn’t seem like to first time many in the audience had heard it.

The Distillers 

Australian-American punk rock band out of L.A. took to the main stage at 5:30 p.m.

“I wanna see two giant circle pits,” band member Broady Dalle proclaimed.

The crowd followed directions, running in two distinct circle mosh pits to left and right of the stage.

About halfway through the set they played “Dismantle Me” and then broke for a short musical interlude before playing “The Hunger” off their 2003 album (“Coral Fang").

The band also recognized the holiday many were celebrating today. They wished the crowd a happy Cinco de Mayo before playing “The Young Crazed Peeling” off their 2002 album, “Sing Sing Death House.”

The California group dedicated their last song of the set to Los Angeles.

They closed a full 15 minutes ahead of their 6:30 p.m. scheduled end time with “City of Angels.”

Manchester Orchestra 

A big crowd turned out for Atlanta indie rockers Manchester Orchestra, who took to the Piedmont stage at 6:30 p.m. and opened with “Pride.”

That was followed by “April Fool” off their 2011 album (“Simple Math").

The band quipped about how great it was to be playing at home before playing “The Sunshine” off their 2017 release “A Black Mile to the Surface”.

Besides noting how nice it is to be home, the band made it through the first half hour of the set without addressing the crowd much more.

The lack of engagement led to a somewhat dull performance that many festivalgoers talked through.

The War on Drugs 

This indie rock band picked the short straw of Day 2. The skies that had been grey and threatening all day finally showed up and raindrops started falling at 7:20 p.m. By 7:30 (when The War on Drugs was scheduled to start), it was raining and many attendees were making their way toward covered areas under trees and tents.

The sun started poking through at 7:45, when The War on Drugs took to the Peachtree stage after about only a 15-minute delay.

They opened with “Holding On,” which was followed by “Pain” off their 2017 release, “A Deeper Understanding”.

It seemed fitting that the Philadelphia natives included “An Ocean In Between the Waves” in their set, considering the field was spotted with puddles and everywhere was wet with fresh rain.

The group followed that up with “Strangest Thing,” also from “A Deeper Understanding.”

“Thanks crew for rolling out the tarps during the rain delay,” lead singer Adam Granduciel said before he started singing “Nothing to Find.”

Matt and Kim 

“I need to see this crowd bounce the only way Atlanta, Georgia can bounce,” Matt yelled during the set and the Shaky Knees audience delivered for the entirety of the set. This was probably the most engaging and exciting performance of the day.

A surprisingly large crowd turned out to one of the smaller stages at Shaky Knees, the Ponce de Leon stage, for the duo’s set.

To kick things off the stage went dark to a thunderous roar from the crowd. An introduction video played. It warned things were going to get wild, and boy did they.

Matt and Kim opened with “It’s Alright,” off their 2012 album, “Lightning.”

“We had a weird past year…” Matt said after the crowd finally quieted down from the high-energy opening. “One year ago today Kim had just gotten out of surgery.”

The two went on to explain that Kim had torn meniscus in her knee during a set one night and how ironic it was to be playing Shaky Knees now, their first American festival since she recovered from her knee injury.

The energy stayed high as Matt and Kim held nothing back in their performance of “Block After Block.” About halfway through the song they broke into a sample of DMX’s “Party Up (Up in Here),” to which Matt said: “Ain’t nothing like Atlanta.”

The pair threw hundreds of balloons into the crowd and asked them to blow them up. Most of them did end up getting inflated and they were flying around as the band played “Make a Mess.”

“We put out a new album yesterday, which is the best thing we’ve ever made and this is the one song we’re playing off it,” Matt said.

They then played “Like I Used to Be” off their new album, “Almost Everyday.”

The props continued as inflated blow up dolls were thrown into the crowd as Matt and Kim started to play “Get It.”

Not even 30 minutes into their performance, it was easy to see why so many fans made a point to be at their performance.

Queens of the Stone Age 

The America rock band from California headlined the second day of Shaky Knees with an hour and a half set on the main stage.

They kicked things off at 9:3 p.m. with “If I Had a Tail,” during which most of the crowd poured in from Cake and Matt & Kim’s performances -- which had just wrapped.

They band followed that up with “In My Head,” off their 2005 release, “Lullabies to Paralyze”.

Lead singer Josh Homme then encouraged the crowd to “get loose” with him as the band riffed a few guitar solos.

“What I like about these festivals is we can all watch bands, we can all get sh*tfaced....everyone has a good time,” Homme said.

To keep the good times rolling, he told the crowd they we’re going to play a dance number next.

“The Way You Used to Do” off the band’s 2017 release “Villains” kept the energy high and the crowd dancing into the night.

Kelly Audette contributed to this report.

Make sure to check out The Music Scene blog throughout the weekend, as well as  Facebook and Twitter  for full coverage of the festival.  

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