Welcome back to Overblown’s Guide to Shaky Knees. We’re providing a comprehensive list of all the bands in all the timeslots, and helping you make the best decisions and get the biggest bang for your concert going buck. This list is for the bands performing on Saturday, May 9th. Check out part one.
12:30 – 1:15 – Hey Rosetta!, Field Report, and Kevin Devine & The Goddamn Band
Hey Rosetta! possessa style that has drawn comparisons to their fellow Canadians Arcade Fire. I heard something of a Vampire Weekend vibe, though I felt Hey Rosetta! were using Paul Simon’s “Graceland” as more of a touchstone than the blatant rip-off VW perpetrated. Field Report are meandering folk pop, also echoing a different era of Simon’s work. Kevin Devine, who could also be tarred with the folk rock brush, is a bit more sullen than these other two, packing a little more loathing and a sharper edge. He’ll get my vote for this slot, given my preferences for self-effacement, though the group is pretty evenly matched.
1:15 – 2:00 – Mariachi El Bronx, Speedy Ortiz
Here’s a weird faceoff. In this corner, we have the Los Angeles luchador mariachis by way of hardcore punk act Mariachi El Bronx. Standing opposite, we have the Sebadoh-sucking-Helium Massachusetts based 90s rockers Speedy Ortiz. Both are talented beasts, and both strangely have names that sound like references to the coast that they’re not from. Though Mariachi El Bronx got a strong review here at Overblown not too long ago, I think I’ll be checking out Speedy Ortiz. Their early album Major Arcana decidedly struck a chord with my lo-fi sensibilities.
2:00 – 2:45 – The Whiskey Gentry, Palma Violets, and Viet Cong
Crikey, there are a lot of folky bands playing at this festival. True to their name, Whiskey Gentry sound like they’ve emerged from a cotton field somewhere, sporting songs with titles like “Preacher’s Daughter” and “Dixie.” London pub rockers Palma Violets were duly hyped in the UK press, but received little attention here in the States. They borrow liberally from the likes of The Clash and The Libertines, dashing out surprisingly surfy jingles that’ll make your toes tap. For me, however, this slot goes to post-punkers Viet Cong. True to their controversial name, these Calgary based heirs to Gang of Four pen bleakly vertiginous songs that sound like Bauhaus covering Animal Collective.
2:45 – 3:45 – Real Estate, METZ
Real Estate is a quintet of New Jerseyians who write dreamy indie pop appropriate for an aimless drive through an autumnal suburb. Their music is prettily sad, a long protracted sigh that comes because there’s nothing to really sigh about. Metz, by way of contrast, are a Canadian trio of sludge punk brutalists in the vein of The Jesus Lizard and Drive Like Jehu. Their songs are devastating, unleashing salvos of noise with remarkable precision. The option here is akin to choosing between sipping crisp pale ale and a chugging bucket of Jägermeister. It all depends on your mood. For me, it’s a complete tossup.
3:34 – 4:45 – The Devil Makes Three, The Black Lips, FIDLAR
Did I mention that there’s a lot of folky alt-country type music going around at this thing? The Devil Makes Three unbridle their front porch stompers in a style that incorporates blues and bluegrass, as channeled through their banjo, guitar, and upright bass. The Black Lips are Atlanta born hometown heroes, and I expect them to put on an impressive show. These self-described “flower punks” were once renowned for their obscene stage antics, though they’ve since toned it down a tad. I’ve seen them a few times, and highly recommend them. However, their last album was a bit of a disappointment, so I suspect I’ll be checking out LA skate punks FIDLAR. Brothers Elvis and Max Keuhn are the sons of a former T.S.O.L guitarist, and I’m curious to see if they can honor their dad with their songs about being young, drunk, and broke.
4:45 – 5:45 – Flogging Molly, Built to Spill
Los Angelino “Irish” punks Flogging Molly will perform their boisterous brand of faux-Pogue drunken lullabies against the backdrop of Idahoan indie-rockers Built to Spill. If you’ve ever seen a hammered frat boy or seen “The Departed,” you know that Flogging Molly will sound like the sort of Boston kegger that Will Hunting would have declined to attend. I’m sure the show will be fun, but I’m too old for that shit. I’ll be listening to Doug Martsch play from his solid new album Untethered Moon. I’ve seen BTS plenty of times over the years, and I’d rather see them again than endure the kilt rock that was played for a bunch of drunken dads at a Jacksonville festival called Lannadoo last year. And I’m Irish.
5:45 – 6:45 – Interpol, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Bronx
This is a toughie. The Bronx are the hardcore punk incarnation of the aforementioned Mariachi El Bronx, and I salute them for pulling off a double set in the late Atlanta springtime. If intransigent punk swagger is your thing, then by all means see them. Interpol and Neutral Milk Hotel, that’s a dilemma. If you haven’t seen NMH, I insist that you see them here, because you won’t get another chance to. The Elephant 6 lo-fi psych rockers announced that this will be their last tour ever. Plus, they’re mainstays of nearby Athens, so they’ll undoubtedly put forth an impressive performance for the Georgia crowd. Interpol, however, will bring their Television-as-sung-by-Ian-Curtis moodiness to the Piedmont stage, and make a strong case for themselves. They haven’t done anything as forceful as their debut Turn on the Bright Lights, but perhaps they’ll redeem themselves a bit. I’ll probably be seeing Neutral Milk Hotel the night prior, and I’ll determine whether this slot will go to them again or to Interpol.
6:35 – 7:45 – Social Distortion, Milky Chance
Social D. A band whose rockabilly-influenced punk is nearly as addictive as the heroin Mike Ness used to shoot into his veins. Their LA punk has always smacked (sorry for the pun, I had to) strongly of their predecessors X and The Germs, but has proven greater in terms of longevity. They should prove entertaining. Milky Chance are a case study in contemporary music’s capacity to leap oceans and genres. A German folk duo who perform electronic reggae songs, they’ve been somewhat fawned over in the pop press. That fact discourages me, but if you’re in the mood to “chillax,” then perhaps these Teutonic irie-mongers might suit your tastes better.
7:45 – 9:00 – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Wilco, ZZ Ward
For fuck’s sake, just go see Wilco.
9:00 – 11:00 The Avett Brothers
These guys are the only band playing in this slot, so oil up your beard, don your suspenders, and make sure your fedora’s crown is extra pinched. Ok, maybe I’m being a little hard on these guys and their fans, but all I know is that I’ll be back at my hotel by the time these guys take the stage, getting ready to go The Earl, or The Drunken Unicorn, or maybe even the immortal Clermont Lounge.
That’s it for Saturday’s lineup. Check in tomorrow when we complete our guide to Shaky Knees. Let us know who you’re looking forward to seeing, who I’ve overlooked, and who I’ve been unfairly overcritical of.