Shaky Knees 2022 Preview: 10 Bands to See at the Atlanta Music Festival

For the first time ever, Atlanta’s Shaky Knees Music Festival will take place twice within the same 12-month period. After the COVID-19 pandemic derailed both the 2020 festival and the planned 2021 dates, we finally made the pilgrimage back to Central Park (the one in Atlanta!) for a rescheduled reunion at October 2021. The festival, which usually takes place the first weekend in May, returns to its regular timeslot this year, meaning it’s time to get groovy again seven months later. Following its typical formula of reserving stellar legacy and alt-rock numbers for the headliners (this year it’s Green Day, Nine Inch Nails and My Morning Jacket) and filling out the rest of the lineup. featuring a mix of established bands and trending indie acts, this year’s program offers the chance to see some old favorites and check out cutting-edge designers at the same time, while enjoying (or, for the unlucky, sneezing) Atlanta’s favorable spring weather. The lineup, combined with the good humor of organizers and festival-goers, makes Shaky Knees an elite indie-rock festival year after year. And if you can’t make it to the festival this year, that’s a shame. But barring additional global pandemics, there’s always next year. For now, the acts listed below are among our must-see sets at the 2022 festival.

Melbourne-based punk band Amyl and the sniffers recently made their US television debut on Late Night with Seth Meyers, and if you missed their sets at Coachella or haven’t yet snagged tickets to other shows on their sold-out North American tour, Shaky Knees is your chance to catch the explosive band in the flesh. . Their second album of 2021 comfort mewhich we have named one of our favorites punk and rock last year’s albums marked an evolution in the artistry of the Amy Taylor-led band, marrying their fiery brand of garage rock with incisive, direct lyrics reflecting sexism and broken societal structures. Known for their aggressive and high-energy performances, Amyl and The Sniffers are sure to bring it all to the Shaky Knees stage, converting all non-believers the second the barriers begin to shake. —Elise Soutar

It’s been a while since Washington’s Chastity Belt played in Atlanta, so while they might be unfamiliar to some, I can’t think of a better setting for a crash course in all things Chastity Belt than Shaky Knees. Their cheeky brand of punk has survived many bullies and inspired leagues more talented feminist rockers. They don’t currently have any new projects on the schedule, but they’ve been touring with Shaky 2022 artist Kurt Vile for most of May, which looks to be their first real tour since pre-pandemic times. And they released a split single, “Fake/Fear,” last year. Their most recent album was a more low-key self-titled project in 2019, but their extravagant first two records, No recording and It’s time to go home, remain the killer centerpieces of their discography. For the time being. —Ellen Johnson

Chicago band Dehd first caught our attention back in 2018, before the release of their 2019 album Water. They followed soon after with the 2020s devotional flowercontaining the “Loner” earworm and inducing Dough to name them The best of the sequel. They are now preparing to release their next LP, blue skies, next month, and they happen to be kicking off their tour with a Shaky Knees set. It’s actually quite fitting, as lead singer Emily Kempf grew up in Atlanta, so their Saturday gig on the main stage at Peachtree should be the perfect place to show off their thoughtful indie-rock jams. —Ellen Johnson

Destroyer falls into the category of indie indies playing Shaky Knees, but that doesn’t necessarily mean their set will be predictable. Canadian Dan Bejar has a dozen Destroyer albums to his credit, but none quite like the latest one from last month. LABYRINTHITISwhich was forged with longtime collaborator John Collins. LABYRINTHITIS takes to the dance floor, weaving art-rock, disco, punk and noise-pop into something entirely new for the band. It will be fascinating and fun to see and hear how this latest batch of songs translate live. —Ellen Johnson

Gang of Youths have won a wider audience than ever with their start of 2022 remarkable album angel in real time., the band’s first new LP in five years. The Aussie band, fronted by magnetic frontman David Le’aupepe, delivered the kind of anthem rock show you’re sure to be swept away in, whether or not you’re sensitive to its emotional overtones. Gang of Youths makes music for both passionate fans jumping in the pit and Shaky Knees fans sprawling in the grass letting their minds wander. We’re willing to bet everyone in the band’s Piedmont stage audience will be spilling over Saturday night with smiles on their faces and stars in their eyes. —Scott Russell

Japanese breakfast again falls into Shaky Knees artists’ independent mainstay column, but their live show after 2021 release Jubilee took on a new meaning, while bringing new instruments (including a gong) and new textures. The album came after the release of singer Michelle Zauner’s best-selling memoir Crying in H Mart, and while the book and the album are on entirely different ends of the emotional spectrum, it seems fitting that Zauner’s rise to pop culture prominence happens at the intersection of two of those accomplishments. The live show feels like a total celebration of how far Zauner has come, and the Shaky Knees crowd is almost certainly ready to celebrate with her. —Ellen Johnson

There were plenty of great songs released in 2019, but one quickly took its place among the greatest breakup songs of all time. This song is “Drunk IIby Philly’s Model Pussy. And it rocks as much live as on their 2019 album, Patience. Vocalist Marisa “Missy” Dabice commands the stage with such ferocity, conveying both grief and rage. The band played Atlanta’s Masquerade last summer while touring with fellow Shaky artist Japanese Breakfast, but it’s time again for them to have a set just for themselves. Check out their Friday performance on the Ponce De Leon Stage, but only if you want to have a really good time. —Ellen Johnson

Just last month, London rock singer/songwriter Nilüfer Yanya took what we called “an exciting step forward” on her second album PAINLESS, so don’t make the mistake of sleeping on his Friday afternoon set. The Criminal Records stage she’ll take is the perfect place to showcase her sound, which is equal parts breathless vulnerability and propulsive power. Find a shady spot and let yourself be overwhelmed by Yanya’s hypnotic rock songs. —Scott Russell

Nine Inch Nails, pioneers of industrial rock, in unexpected ways canceled their long-awaited tour in 2021 as COVID-19 concerns began to rise during the live music boom. This came with the cancellation of several festival dates. Fortunately, Atlanta will be treated with its righteous back on stage at Shaky Knees. The band’s performances at the festival are not to be missed, as Trent Reznor transforms into the transgressive rock star who put his band on the map in the late 80s and 90s. Fans old and new will be delighted to be taken on a journey through the band’s vast catalog that will see them tackle everything from metal to dance music. It’s a privilege to see a band stay at their peak as they enter their third decade, as Shaky Knees attendees are sure to appreciate. (Robin Finck, a native of Marietta, the band’s longtime guitarist who’s been gone and come back many times, will be playing with them, so in a sense, it’s a homecoming show.)—Jade Gomez

Rockabilly/garage-punk band Shannon and The Clams have been hitting the festival circuit in recent months (with stops such as Treefort Fest in Boise, where they recorded a session with Dough studios) supporting their sixth studio album, 2021 year of the spider. Although it’s tempting to talk about the Oakland band as if they were just a throwback act, highlighting how they mix the weird kitsch of 50s and 60s pop with alternative throwback music. to the sources that came out in the following decades, there’s an unmistakable authenticity woven into the fabric of the delightfully offbeat back catalog they’ve amassed so far. Their eclectic approach to retro-pop, carried by the singular, smoky grain of singer Shannon Shaw’s voice, shines the most in a live context, allowing you to witness the alchemy of old and new up close. new from the band as they traverse one of the most unique discographies of recent years every time they take the stage. —Elise Soutar


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