Ohio folk trio Caamp provided the perfect backdrop for a Sunday afternoon in the park. While lead singer Taylor Meier sang the band's mellow cuts in his signature raspy voice, fans sought shade under a giant tree, drinking and dancing. The band's setlist included new music from their forthcoming album “By and By,” as well as last year's "Books," but it was the performance of "Vagabond" that got the crowd the most excited and singing the loudest. Throughout the set, Meier roamed around the stage - wearing a trucker hat, blue Miller Lite T-shirt, blue jeans and brown boots - quickly shifting his weight from one leg to the other in a joyous dance.
Grouplove singer Chris Zucconi. Photo: Melissa Ruggieri/Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Singers Hannah Hooper and Chris Zucconi form a spirited frontline for the Los Angeles-based quintet known for their 2011 radio hit, “Tongue Tied.”
Opening their set with “Prime Time,” the pair exchanged rubber-faced expressions as they danced and played through “Itchin’ on a Photograph” and “I’m with You.” Zucconi flailed so intensely, he momentarily lost the blue knit cap pulled over his blond locks (the perfect accessory for 80 degrees in the blistering sun).
The band elicited cheers when they told the crowd that they were filming video footage for the new tune, “Deleter,” which featured a catchy “no-no-no”-filled chorus. The also-new “Deadline,” a percussion-driven song, required a do-over to land in the correct key for Hooper.
Good news for fans – Zucconi promised a fresh album –their first since 2016 – “in the next year.”
Phosphorescent's Sunday set provided singer Matthew Houck with the opportunity to perform in front of an Atlanta audience for the second day in a row. The indie rocker with Georgia ties performed a late show at Terminal West on Saturday night, but he told fans in Central Park that he was excited to play a few songs that didn't make it into the Saturday set.
Joined on stage by five other musicians and signage that read “C'est la vie,” the name of Phosphorescent's 2018 album, the singer performed a number of songs from his most recent album.
Houck sang through a vocoder, distorting his vocals for the atmospheric "Around the Horn" before slowing things down for the sweet "My Beautiful Boy,” both from the latest project. The band played a few older songs, too, including 2013's country-leaning "Terror in the Canyons (The Wounded Master)."
Calpurnia frontman - and "Stranger Things" actor - Finn Wolfhard, plays Shaky Knees Music Festival. Photo: Melissa Ruggieri/Atlanta Journal-Constitution
If you were wondering why packs of young girls were pressed against the barricade a few feet from the stage and shrieking as if a member of BTS were in the small tent on the Ponce de Leon stage, you must not follow the Netflix smash, “Stranger Things.”
While Calpurnia originated in Canada, its frontman, Finn Wolfhard, is a familiar sight to Atlantans. The young, curly-topped singer-guitarist in the band joked that it felt like a hometown show to perform on the Ponce stage since he lived near Ponce City Market last year while filming.
But Calpurnia – who, amusingly, perched a sign behind bassist Jack Anderson to identify the band – is a perfectly fun pop-punk band with choruses ripe for pogo-ing (“Wasting Time”) and a guitarist (Ayla Tesler-Mabe) with a few nifty solos to unleash.
The band, which released its debut EP, “Scout,” in 2018, also treated the crowd to the first song they ever wrote, “Where Is My Mind?,” and 45 minutes worth of other spitfire rockers.
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Atlanta-based Deerhunter - fronted by singer Bradford Cox - at Shaky Knees. Photo: Melissa Ruggieri/Atlanta Journal-Constitution
It wasn’t until halfway through the band’s set that Deerhunter lead singer Bradford Cox reluctantly revealed the band's local ties. "We're all from here, kind of," he said, before noting that the statement wasn't entirely accurate. "Two of us are from Cobb County, although we're not proud of it."
Eight albums into their career now, the musicians are a long way from their roots. Fans seemed more than happy to oblige the group as they performed a set that showed off the decade together, from 2008's "Agoraphobia" to "Death in Midsummer" from the band's latest album, released earlier this year. In between, Cox mimicked the popular sax line from the 2010's "Coronado," smirking the entire time as though he hadn't done this countless times before.
Foals singer/guitarist Yannis Philippakis at Shaky Knees. Photo: Melissa Ruggieri/Atlanta Journal-Constitution
In 2016, when Shaky Knees took place at Centennial Olympic Park and the “shaky bridge,” as it was deemed, connected concertgoers to additional stages on the other side of Marietta Street, the British alt-rocker quartet Foals played one of the smaller stages at the event.
Three years and a couple of albums later, the outfit fronted by intense singer/guitarist Yannis Philippakis commanded the main Peachtree Stage for a set that demonstrated their undefinable sound. From the ethereal guitar on “Spanish Sahara” to plodding bass intro leading to the rich prog rock of “Syrups” to the glitter ball thumper “In Degrees,” Foals is always a riveting live act.
During “Inhaler,” Philippakis strolled the pathway in front of the stage before returning to his bandmates to shred the finale of “What Went Down.”
Kentucky native Tyler Childers' set was one of the standout sets in the Sunday lineup, from the violin solo during "I Swear (To God)" to his band's rendition of "I Got Stoned and I Missed It.” Despite the fact that Childers is a captivating performer and singer, his songwriting still shined through as he sang sweet love songs such as "Shake the Frost” and "Feathered Indians” with the crowd nearly drowning him out. Performing underneath the only covered stage on the festival grounds, Childers' country stylings and accent were a welcomed difference from the various rock bands that performed at the festival.
The joyful Maggie Rogers at Shaky Knees. Photo: Melissa Ruggieri/Atlanta Journal-Constitution
If there is an act most worthy of headliner status next year, it’s the luminous, effervescent Rogers.
While she’s making noise on radio with “Light On” and “Burning,” the Maryland singer-songwriter proved in the duration of her dozen-song set why she’s destined for superstardom.
Between her exuberant stage presence – imagine, someone this HAPPY to be performing – and her winsome attitude (“So much of this music I made thinking of the color palette of this time of day – before the sun goes down. And I’ve never gotten to play a set at this time. I’m really humbled to be here.”), Rogers is immediately endearing.
Then add in her delicious soul-pop offerings – “Give a Little,” “Burning,” “Say It” – and it’s difficult to have anything but massive respect for this upstart.
Whether sharing her soaring voice during the gentle clip-clop of “Dog Years” or grooving to the chug of “The Knife,” Rogers – who referenced her festival slot at Music Midtown in the fall – captivated.
Tame Impala's Kevin Parker isn't a fan of being seen on stage, even at Shaky Knees. Photo: Melissa Ruggieri/Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Fresh off a headlining set at Coachella, Australian collective Tame Impala brought their brand of psychedelic rock to downtown Atlanta to close out Shaky Knees. The headlining set is one of several festivals and North American concerts the group has planned in the coming months ahead of their highly anticipated fourth album.
Unsurprisingly, the focus stayed squarely on the music, with fans getting few glimpses of frontman Kevin Parker on the giant screens on either side of the stage. Aside from silhouettes of Parker and quick shots of him singing intensely into the microphone, the screens mostly showed psychedelic imagery. Fans didn’t have to see Parker to enjoy the show, though. By the time Parker and Co. were a few songs into their set, performing the standout single "Elephant" from their 2012 album, Lonerism, a laser light show had ensued.
From the new single to "Borderline" to album cuts such as "Love/Paranoia," Parker delivered each song with precise vocals and musicianship as the lights bounced off of nearby trees and the crowd danced around. Staring at the stage wasn’t the point of this set and fans knew that. They were more than happy to lose themselves in the music and the atmosphere.
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