April 28, 2022
For the first time since its inception, Shaky Knees fans don’t have to wait a full year to experience the Atlanta rock festival. After returning in October 2021 following the cancellation of 2020’s event, Shaky Knees is back again at Atlanta’s Central Park with a lineup that boasts a star-studded bill along with a few hidden gems.
Headliners this year include ‘90s punk rockers Green Day and industrial rock outfit Nine Inch Nails who are both playing the festival for the first time. My Morning Jacket and Dropkick Murphys return for their second years, while Death Cab for Cutie and Texas instrumental psychedelic soul band Khruangbin play Shaky Knees for the first time. North Carolina’s own Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Scottish synth-pop act Chvrches, and Australian acid rock band King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard round out an eclectic mix of styles.
Despite the big names, Shaky Knees has always been a fest that draws a crowd for the underdogs, consistently placing lesser-known acts throughout the bill to cement itself as a true indie rock fest. Some of the bands in small font this year include Angel Du$t, Mannequin Pussy, Molchat Doma, PUP, and Spiritual Cramp.
As always, the late night events at Shaky Knees are held at some of Atlanta’s best music venues, including Terminal West, The Masquerade, The Earl, and Vinyl.
Here are some more acts we’re excited to see at Shaky Knees 2022:
Saturday, 8:30 p.m. at Ponce De Leon stage
Japanese Breakfast is a Grammy-nominated experimental pop project conceived and fronted by Michelle Zauner, who has received critical acclaim as a musician, author, and director. The group was started in 2013 as a music project on Tumblr and have released three LPs since, as well as a video game soundtrack and live album. Over the years, Zauner has come to master a distinct upbeat pop sound that she imbues with thoughtful lyricism, exploring concepts like death and abandonment without betraying the mood of her now hallmarked style, and her latest work, 2021’s Jubilee, is no exception.
Friday, 5:15 p.m. at Criminal Records stage
Born to an Irish mother and Turkish father, Nilüfer Yanya grew up in Chelsea, London, influenced at a young age by Turkish and classical music before picking up a guitar of her own at 12. Since then, Yanya has released four EPs and three albums, keeping critics on their toes as she seamlessly blends styles of jazz, soul, and rock. With her latest release of 2022’s Painless, Yanya has kept the target moving, never settling on a style for too long as she rocks back and forth between soulful ballads similar to King Krule and feverish quick-tempoed jams a la Parquet Courts.
Shannon and the Clams
Friday, 7:15 p.m. at Criminal Records stage
Perhaps one of the best-fit bands for an indie rock fest, Shannon and the Clams have been putting out fuzzy psych-rock hits since 2009 and haven’t slowed down since. Formed in Oakland, the group has hailed comparisons to Buddy Holly with their unique blend of doo-wop, R&B, and surf-pop. These comparisons hit the mark on the group’s latest album, 2021’s Year of the Spider, a record that sounds like the lovechild of an LSD-tinged prom band from the ‘60s and the grimiest dive bar stage you can think of. Filled with garage punk tunes like “Year of the Spider” and more experimental tracks like “Midnight Wine,” Shannon and the Clams keep you guessing at every turn, and their Shaky Knees performance should be one to be remembered.
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. at Peachtree stage
Chvrches is a Scottish synth-pop group who will be playing Shaky Knees for the first time this year. Formed in 2011, Chvrches has cultivated an immense following in the electronic music genre. The band has released four albums and received a host of accolades from the SXSW Grulke Prize award to the honor of being Consequence of Sound‘s 2021 Band of the Year. Armed with their latest album, 2021’s Screen Violence, Chvrches has established themselves as a premier electronica band and will no doubt be a major draw for indie pop fans at the festival. Fans can count on catching a dazzling light show in addition to the catchy hooks and driving beats of the Scottish trio led by singer Lauren Mayberry.
Kurt Vile & The Violators
Saturday, 6:30 p.m. at Piedmont stage
Another genre-bending veteran of Shaky Knees, Kurt Vile & The Violators will be returning this year, ready to once again bring their bizarre yet alluring blend of indie rock and country/bluegrass music back to Atlanta. With an arsenal of nine studio albums to play from, Vile has an enormous catalog ready and waiting. Whether you’re into older hits like “Freak Train” or lean further into the later material such as “Like Exploding Stones,” Vile’s set should have a little something for everyone.
Friday, 2:45 p.m. at Piedmont stage
One of the hometown heroes of this year’s fest is Atlanta-native Faye Webster, a young dream-pop artist who has taken the genre and made it her own, often incorporating styles from country music and jazz into her songs. Her name became one of the many synonymous with indie music after her song “Better Distractions” was included on Barack Obama’s 2020 playlist of his favorite songs. She has since released 2021’s I Know I’m Funny haha, a record that is as soothing and ethereal as it is somber. Songs like the title track channel country twang influences from Webster’s upbringing under a Texas bluegrass guitarist father and fiddler mother, while other songs like “Cheer” sound more modern, radiating with thick bass and electronic fuzz to remind listeners that she’s not restricted to a single sound.
Gang of Youths
Saturday, 4:30 p.m. at Piedmont stage
Hailing from Sydney, Australia, Gang of Youths may be one of the most worldly bands to ever play Shaky Knees. Featuring a host of members from quite literally all areas of the globe, Gang of Youths channels a straightforward subdued alt rock sound in the vein of The National. They’ve topped charts in Australia and the UK, and have been praised by critics for their use of a complex, non-traditional approach to the modernized genre, mainly credited to their principal songwriter, David Le’aupepe. While they haven’t toured very much in the States as of yet, their current tour could positively impact the group’s trajectory on this side of the Pacific. The band appearance on the lineup highlights why Shaky Knees is so important to younger acts. It gives a chance for these groups to captivate a whole new audience of potential fans, ripe for the taking.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Friday, 8:15 p.m. at Ponce De Leon stage
If you’re a fan of genre-outliers on a festival bill, look no further than Godspeed You! Black Emperor, the post-rock heavyweight champion of Canada, who will be playing Shaky Knees for the first time this year. Formed in 1994 in Montreal, Quebec, Godspeed has established themselves as one of the true godfathers of the post-rock genre. Boasting average song runtimes of 15 to 20 minutes and beyond, Godspeed is indeed an unorthodox pick for a festival like Shaky Knees, a fest accustomed to bands flying through ten or 12 songs in an hour-long set. As strange as it may seem to have a purely instrumental band on an indie rock lineup, especially at a near-headlining position, fellow post-rock giant Explosions In The Sky were greeted with a white-hot reception at the 2016 fest, and fans of the genre will be thrilled to see another favorite play this year. Godspeed is sure to rapture the crowd with intricate soundscapes and theatrical, swelling compositions.
Sunday, 7:00 p.m. at Ponce De Leon stage
Short for Pathetic Use of Potential, PUP was formed in Toronto, Ontario in 2010 and the band’s been a long-time favorite for fans of pop-punk and alt-rock music since their debut release in 2014. With influences ranging from ska to old-school punk music, PUP brings an almost adolescent, whimsical kind of fervor to the stage. Armed to the teeth with songs full of belting, anthemic choruses, their live shows have been credited as some of the most entertaining amongst peer groups like The Menzingers and Rozwell Kid, and Shaky Knees is a perfect proving ground for that sentiment. Attendees always look forward to the raucous crowds at the smaller stages, and PUP is sure to live up to that expectation.
Death Cab for Cutie
Sunday, 6:00 p.m. at Peachtree stage
Hailing from Bellingham, Washington, Death Cab For Cutie has become an institutional foundation for the emo-music and alt-rock genres since the landmark release of 2003’s Transatlanticism. Over the course of their career, the group has released nine studio albums and their songs have been featured in a variety of television and film formats, generating immense critical and commercial success within and outside of emo music. Fronted by band founder and principal songwriter Ben Gibbard, Death Cab exudes Gibbard’s special brand of deeply emotional lyricism compounded by simple, yet thematic instrumentals, earning comparisons to fellow emo and rock monoliths like Modest Mouse and Built to Spill. Death Cab is likely a crowd favorite for Shaky Knees’ audience, and their set can be expected to be a crowded one, as this is Death Cab’s first appearance at the fest.
Check out the full schedule, late night shows, and more on Shaky Knees 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia taking place April 29 – May 1 at ShakyKneesFestival.com.
In this article
- Angel Du$t
- Central Park
- death cab for cutie
- dropkick murphys
- Faye Webster
- Gang of Youths
- Godspeed You! Black Emperor
- indie rock
- Japanese Breakfast
- King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
- Kurt Vile
- Kurt Vile & the Violators
- Mannequin Pussy
- Molchat Doma
- music festival
- my morning jacket
- Nilüfer Yanya
- Rainbow Kitten Surprise
- shaky knees
- Shannon and the Clams
- Spiritual Cramp
- Terminal West
- The Earl
- The Masquerade