Shaky Knees 2022: The 10 best sets we’ve seen

Atlanta’s Shaky Knees Music Festival resumed operations during its regular spring weekend this year (April 29-May 1) after the festival was pushed back to October last year thanks to COVID, and the Dough The team was once again in the field to experience all it had to offer. It’s once again very exciting to be back at the festival after missing out on so much live music during the lockdown era. The performers and attendees just seemed happy to be back and experiencing the festivities again. From rising stars to established artists to some of Atlanta’s exports, Shaky Knees have once again delivered on their promise to bring the best in indie rock to Central Park. Here are our favorite sets from Shaky 2022.


Photo of Charles Reagan for Shaky Knees

Band of Horses returned to Shaky Knees this year in full force. They played the first Shaky Knees festival in 2013, and they recognized this weekend how special it is to play Shaky Knees whenever they can. While a lot has changed in the almost ten years since they first performed at this festival, some of their older songs like “Funeral” and “No One’s Gonna Love You” sound fresher than ever. . They added some songs from their 2022 album things are big in the mix (like “Lights” and “Crutch”), which sounded as perfect as the songs they’d been playing for years. Some of the band members, including frontman Ben Bridwell, even wore Braves gear. —Ellen Johnson


Photo by Sophie Harris for Shaky Knees

Fellow Atlanta native Emily Kempf shook our socks off Saturday with her Chicago-based band Dehd. Their cool, carefree style of indie rock shone in a live outdoor setting, as did some of their grooviest earworms, including “Loner”, “Bad Love” and “Lucky”. Kempf’s booming voice stretched far across the dusty lawn of Central Park, and Jason Balla’s squirming guitar and Eric McGrady’s confident drumming kept us dancing for 45 minutes. —Ellen Johnson


Photo by Lindsay Thomaston

It’s always special to see an artist in their hometown, but it’s even more fun to see Faye Webster in Atlanta. The 24-year-old singer calls the city home, and she even gave a shaky shoutout to her parents, who were in attendance at her Friday afternoon gig on the Piedmont Stage. Webster treated the crowd to songs from his 2019 album Atlanta Millionaires Club as well as his last LP, I know I’m funny Hahaincluding “A Dream With a Baseball Player,” his love song to Braves star Ronald Acuña Jr. – so there’s no doubting his sports team’s allegiance. —Ellen Johnson


Photo by Lindsay Thomaston

With faces smeared in hasty Pierrot makeup, siblings Wyatt and Fletcher Shears of The Garden created an avant-punk circus of the Piedmont scene. From the first drumbeat, an endless stream of crowd surfers began hurtling down the heights. The people in front of me were just a blur of neon hair. A jester’s hat passed, then a spiked mohawk teased with enough gel to seal a grave. Pit security had their work cut out for them, but The Garden never seemed overwhelmed. They were the leaders of a salutary chaos, even throwing themselves a few dives and somersaults. The set was an energizing treat, but it was “Sneaky Devil” (a twangy sludge of bass and glitch a la Death Grips) that invited such a memorably fun mosh, I marked it as one of my favorite festival performances to date. —Lindsay Thomaston


Photo by Lindsay Thomaston

Becca Harvey’s mark is one of unadorned enchantment. Performing under the moniker girlpuppy, Harvey directs breezy indie-pop with a subtle charm that has earned him many comparisons with artists like Phoebe Bridgers and Alvvays singer Molly Rankin. While these comparisons aren’t misplaced, it would be wrong to say that Harvey doesn’t carve out his own name. She fervently embraces the restless melancholy of youth, often lamenting her growing pains in deceptively optimistic cadences. Portraits of grief are sandwiched between references to astrology and QAnon in a way that succinctly captures the dreamy bittersweet of the early 20s, especially Gen Z’s foray into young adulthood. . As an Atlanta native, there was no shortage of crowd support for Harvey’s Sunday set. The legion of positive whispers I heard as I strolled through the audience proved that girlpuppy’s heartfelt wisdoms had won her a welcome host of new supporters. —Lindsay Thomaston


Photo by Lindsay Thomaston

Japanese Breakfast have always been a stellar live band, but the band has an added wow factor after releasing Jubilee Last year. Lead singer and songwriter Michelle Zauner commanded the stage with her clear, expanding vocals — and a gong, which comes into play for a few songs, but most notably during “Paprika,” which kicked off the sub-headliner on Saturday. evening on the Ponce De Leon Stage. The tremendous light show, combined with everyone’s musical expertise (especially the saxophonist and violinist) and Zauner’s beautiful vocal delivery, made for the most vibrant and joyful set of the entire festival. —Ellen Johnson


Photo by Lindsay Thomaston

Whether you realize it or not, you know who Molchat Doma are. Through the fervent osmosis of a viral TikTok sound, the Belarusian black wave trio found eager ears in a new American fandom born too late for Joy Division. These fans packed the woodlots of the criminal record stage – the busiest set I’ve ever seen at this particular stage – in tangible anticipation. If it hadn’t been for the disorganized sea of ​​restless festival-goers, you might have mistaken the crowd for the queue at an exclusive Berlin nightclub; black was the uniform color of choice. Strappy harness drapes from leather accented shoulders. I think I got high contact from the weed smoke smog. When Molchat Doma took the stage, the trance really began. Frontman Egor Shkutko quickly captivated, largely reserved in his movement on the mic, but no less emotional for it. Although the band’s discography is largely minimalist in instrumentation, it’s members Roman Komogortsev and Pavel Kozlov’s synth flourishes (turning on keys) that really expand the brutalist context of post-punk hooks into something irresistibly dancing. —Lindsay Thomaston


Photo by Pooneh Ghana for Shaky Knees

Although their set is part of the festival lineup, My Morning Jacket’s Sunday night finale might as well have been a standalone show. The band played for what felt like six hours in the best way. The rockers hailing from Kentucky have a following crossover jam, and it’s easy to see why. They played a few songs for over 10 minutes, ending with the crown jewel of their jams, “Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Pt. 2.” There’s an added layer of meaning to seeing My Morning Jacket at Shaky, because they’ve already headlined the festival. Jim James is an all-time frontman, and My Morning Jacket is the perfect band to close out a festival like Shaky Knees. —Ellen Johnson


Photo by Lindsay Thomaston

While the punk aesthetic is experiencing a current renaissance, for many this period will come and pass as nothing more than a consumerist trend aimed at selling fingerless gloves and grimace-worthy bachelors lukewarmly attempting to capture the nostalgia of falling in love. of an emo girl. For The Regrettes, it’s just another day, though the rock revival has provided the perfect time to prove just how perfect their chops are. With a sound that draws influence from riot grrrl, surf rock, doo-wop and garage punk, The Regrettes provided a musical space as suitable for opening a pit as it was for swaying your hips, which is exactly what happened. passed in the late afternoon. performance at Shaky Knees. Singer Lydia Night pranced over the speakers and kicked around as fans crowded against the fence to sing the lyrics to her, the neon pink of her microphone cord flying behind like a feather boa. At one point, perhaps in a nod to the aforementioned revival, the band embarked on one of the best covers of the weekend with their rendition of Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend.” It was impossible not to smile as Night confidently led the audience in a pop-punk chant, but it was the real joy both on stage and in the crowd as fists pumped in the air at the hook of their 2016 single “Seashore” which solidified the band as more rock and roll than most festival headliners: “I don’t look like nobody else, so you can just fuck off.” —Lindsay Thomaston


Photo by Pooneh Ghana for Shaky Knees

It won’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s seen Spoon before, but the natives of Austin, TX threw a spectacular festival. Britt Daniel is an energetic frontman, and while an hour doesn’t seem long enough, he and the rest of the band made the relatively brief set feel like a full rock show. They of course took the time for the hits “Inside Out” and “Do You”, and some excerpts from their 2022 album. Lucifer on the couch (“Wild,” “The Hardest Cut,” and “My Babe” among them) fit right in with old favorites on their setlist. —Ellen Johnson

Elizabeth J. Harless