The sounds of pure indie rock and roll could be heard booming in Central Park last weekend as the annual Shaky Knees music festival returned after being postponed due to COVID-19 precautions. The festival, which traditionally takes place in May, hosted three crowded music days from October 22-24.
Shaky Knees has hosted notable headliners such as Run the Jewels, Mac DeMarco, Portugal. L’Homme, Alice Cooper and The Strokes. Headliners also included the Foo Fighters, which were added to the lineup after Stevie Nicks’ removal from the festival – along with all of his other scheduled appearances across the country – as a health precaution in the wake of the pandemic.
While Nicks’ presence was sorely missed, the first day of performance continued with the Peachtree stage being dominated by Cults, Dominic Fike and Mac DeMarco. The Cults, an American indie band formed in 2010 and whose music has since been featured in the commercials of various smartphone companies, was a pleasant start to the weekend for tech students who had to wait until after school to finish. the day to do. the walk to the park. The nostalgic sounds of their hit songs “Always Forever” and “Go Outside” were the perfect background music for the start of a beautiful weekend of live performances.
Mac DeMarco enthusiasts trying to get in front of the crowd for his show first had to take advantage of the surprisingly contagious stage presence of Dominic Fike, whose song “3 Nights” propelled him to popularity during the last year. Fike has proven that he will be an artist to watch for years to come as he continues to ride the waves of his freshman album “What could Possible Go Wrong?” But the hundreds of young girls pushed against the barricades eagerly awaiting her performance, you might have said it before.
Minutes after Fike’s fiery auto finished his set, Mac DeMarco came to help set up his own scene. Leaning down to plug in wires with a cigarette sticking out of his mouth, DeMarco’s humble presence drove the crowd crazy as he performed the mundane tasks that are usually reserved for a stagehand rather than the artist himself- same. DeMarco’s fun, down-to-earth vibe continued throughout his set, which made everything in the world sound good for an hour or so with selections from his discography ranging from his 2012 album. “2” to her most recent 2019 release “Here Comes the Cowboy.”
The highlight of Saturday’s lineup was Run the Jewels, the rap duo made up of El-P and Killer Mike from Atlanta. It was a special homecoming night for Killer Mike as he repeatedly shone in front of crowds to express how grateful he was to be able to perform for his neighbors. The performance marked the first time an Atlanta crowd has heard live selections from RTJ’s latest album “RTJ4”. The show ended when an elated Killer Mike invited everyone to the Blue Flame Lounge and Swinging Richards as the haunting sounds of “some words for the firing squad (strike)” escorted the couple out of the room. scene.
Sunday’s lineup was unmatched as The Backseat Lovers, Orville Peck, Modest Mouse, Phoebe Bridgers and The Strokes dominated three different stages across the park throughout the day. Orville Peck, the mysterious masked gay cowboy, was an easy choice for an artist who should have been named as headliner but was not. Peck’s performance of his low-boiling country croons, while unconventional for the independent festival, was a welcome break from the headbanger groups surrounding his time slot. Unsuspecting festival-goers who gathered around the main festival stage without hearing from the man left as superfans due to his jaw-dropping performance.
The festival ended on a bittersweet note as The Strokes closed the night with a clearly disgruntled lead singer. 43-year-old frontman Julian Casablancas showed up on stage 15 minutes late for their set and made it clear that he didn’t really want to be on stage. The crowd laughed at his awkward comments that he was shutting down the whole group during their performance of “Ode to the Mets” which Casablancas dubbed “Ode to the Dodgers” after the Braves beat the Dodgers to qualify for the World Series the night before. Casablancas skipped the song as he admitted he didn’t remember the lyrics. After a series of disturbing comments from Casablancas and assuring him to the crowd that he was fine, he quickly dropped the microphone at 10 a.m., marking the end of an otherwise successful Shaky Knees weekend.