Shaky Knees 2016 Day 3: Recap and Photos

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Shaky Knees 2016 Day 3: Recap and Photos

Shaky Knees 2016 is officially in the books, with performances by the likes of St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Parquet Courts, Florence & The Machine and more rounding out day three of the festival. Check out photos from the day’s proceedings in the gallery, and read about some of our favorite sets below.

Julien Baker

Julien Baker’s equipment faltered again and again during her early Sunday afternoon set, but her voice never did—not once. The pint-sized purveyor of what she called “bummer jams” had a rough start to her performance, thanks to some technical difficulties—her opening song, “Sprained Ankle,” was marred by repeated feedback and even a bumbling sound guy, for some reason audible over the PA, muttering, “We’ve got something weird happening.” Nevertheless, an unfazed Baker, armed only with a mic, a butterscotch telecaster, a loop pedal and a T-shirt that read “Sad songs make me happy,” kept the small crowd rapt throughout her plaintive nine-song set, repeatedly moving even the most sedate attendees to applause (and emotions) with her vocal heroics. The only thing more affecting than Baker’s intensely earnest stage manner—”Be safe out there,” she implored at one point. “Lame to say, but I mean it”—was her painfully poignant lyric deliveries. The titular refrain of “Everybody Does” and numerous lines from “Rejoice” and “Go Home,” in particular, all made me want to clap and cry in equal measure. “Bad things can be good things too, if you let them,” Baker said between songs—her heartfelt set was proof.—Scott Russell

The Orwells

The sun was beating down heavy during The Orwells’ afternoon set on the Piedmont Stage, but somehow getting sweaty during their performance of Disgraceland favorites just felt…right. The Chicago band tore through tracks like “Who Needs You,” “Southern Comfort” and “The Righteous One” and got the crowd moving despite the heat, and when frontman Mario Cuomo forgot some of the lyrics at one point, he owned it, ad-libbing some new ones with the tossed-off ease we’d expect from The Orwells.—Bonnie Stiernberg

Parquet Courts

The scene at Shaky Knees’ Boulevard stage started out bleak: Parquet Courts’ 3:15 p.m. performance was about to begin in the peak heat of an otherwise gorgeous day, and the stage awaited them with less-than-little fanfare, adorned only with an aggressively nondescript black-and-white banner. What followed was just what the flagging, sun-stifled crowd needed: a dynamic set that started out languid and loose, then built in a hard-charging crescendo of oblique pothead punk rock. The band leaned heavily on their latest record to start, getting lost in five straight tracks from Human Performance. They found their focus (and their fire) as the show went on, delighting the crowd by delving deeper and deeper into their back catalog with “Bodies Made Of,” “Black and White” and “Borrowed Time.” Co-lead vocalists/guitarists Andrew Savage and Austin Brown brought the noise on set closer “Light Up Gold,” shaking more than few knees with their dual guitar attack. Other highlights included: Savage pointing to a hedge in front of the stage and deadpanning, “I’d like to thank this bush for doing security”; Savage’s vocals in general, which sounded either like he’d just stepped on a rusty nail, or was falling asleep, with no in-between; and Brown snarling “Socrates died in the fucking gutter” on a blazing “Master Of My Craft.” All told, the set was as fun and unpredictable—funpredictable?—as Parquet Courts themselves.—Scott Russell

Diet Cig

Adorable, pint-sized singer Alex Luciano led off Diet Cig’s afternoon spot on the Buford Highway stage by announcing to the crowd that she was under the weather, but you never would have known that while the performance was actually in progress, what with its near constant frolicking and Carrie Brownstein-esque high kicks. The New York indie/pop-punk duo play music that comfortably recalls late ‘80s and early ‘90s bands in its simple accessibility and breathless, wistful delivery. Luciano is a charming frontwoman, with a happy-to-be-here demeanor that is well complimented by a pastel blue guitar. Their set was a breezy affair, punctuated by the audience singing “Happy Birthday” to a member of the crew.—Jim Vorel

St. Paul & The Broken Bones

The first words of real introduction out of the mouth of Paul Janeway to a packed Sunday afternoon crowd were “Shaky Knees! It’s time to shake your ass right now.” That about sums up the aesthetic of St. Paul & The Broken Bones, still reveling in the Feb. 2014 release of their momentous soul debut Half the City. Janeway and co. are clearly looking forward as well, though, polishing songs off their new album, which Janeway says can be expected at an unannounced point in the fall. In fact, the audience heard quite a bit of this new album in the course of the set—five or six new songs at least, which seem to suggest a riff-driven sound with influences from the worlds of jazz and Janeway’s childhood gospel upbringing. The set’s unexpected highlight, however, was undoubtedly the band’s thunderous cover of The Beatles “I Want You/She’s So Heavy,” which threatened to collapse the Peachtree stage with its ferocity.—Jim Vorel

Young the Giant

Young the Giant is the kind of act that naturally thrives in the large festival environment—stages like Shaky Knees are like second homes to these guys, and it might even be where they perform their best, reveling in gaudy festival fashions with the colors of Spirograph drawings come to life. Throughout the show, the band dropped occasional hints about their forthcoming third album Home of the Strange, due out in August, and performed some of the new tracks—in particular, “Something to Believe In” absolutely killed on the Ponce De Leon stage, to a crowd who already seemed to know all the words. As ever, their most indispensable asset is the voice of lead singer Sameer Gadhia, whose vocal range and power are the key feature that has made Young the Giant among the most successful American rock bands touring today.—Jim Vorel

Florence & The Machine

Having seen Florence & The Machine live a few times, there are some things that don’t change, like her request of crowd members to pick their friends up and put them atop their shoulders during “Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up),” but perhaps the biggest constant is Florence Welch’s undeniable stage presence. It’s impossible to take your eyes off her for one moment when she’s onstage, as she bounds from one end of the stage to the other, mixes in some modern dance moves and tells endearing stories about the hangover that inspired “Shake it Out.” But in addition to stunts like scaling the sound booth, she’s got vocal prowess that most performers can only dream of, and ultimately, that’s what made Florence & The Machine’s Sunday night headlining set so memorable—witnessing a talented performer do what she does best.—Bonnie Stiernberg