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Saturday has begun, and as I had predicted yesterday, it is packed. While it was easy to navigate without bumping elbows every ten seconds yesterday, today is a different story. If you’re coming out today, be sure to bring your sidling skills.
The first act of interest is the one man solo act (but also has a band), Shakey Graves. Properly known as Alejandro Rose-Garcia, Shakey Graves brings a lot of Texas to his music. The Austin, Texas native utilizes the sounds Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jerry Reid, but implements in a heavier and more Rock festival appropriate manner.
His guitar sound is unique in that he blends a ton of noises. Graves has twang, but he also has distortion. She has riffs, but his focus on chord structure hails to a style entirely something else. His vocals are seductive in their own gritty and distressing way. He howls and moans, but every word means something (and you can understand it!).
Shakey Graves was one the most anticipated acts for me today. I can’t say why entirely; obviously I love his music, but there is something more to behold. Go watch his Audiotree sessions, and I think the peculiarity of his attractiveness will make more sense. His energy is intense, and you get the feeling this is one those few selected by the gods to make music.
There were some technical difficulties before Graves could perform. Apparently a power generator busted, delaying his set by about 45 minutes. True to his love for the audience, Graves came out with a bang. In his second song, he declared “I apologize that it took me so long to get out. I now sacrifice this guitar, to you the people,” said Graves. You can imagine what came next. He smashed his guitar to bits, and threw the pieces to his beloved fans.
An old antic, but a ballsy one. And no doubt, the crowd loved it. Graves has a way of luring his fans into his charm, and it’s not hard to see why. I’m sure he will be going home with a number of new fans after this festival.
Phosphorescent, a.k.a. Matthew Houck, is one of the few Georgia based artists at Shaky Knees this year. He and his band are based out of Athens, though they originally hail from Alabama. That fact makes sense when you take a listen to their heavily Southern sound.
Houck and the group have mastered the quintessential country/rock slow jam -- you know, the kind you listen to with a Bud Light in a high chair with no shirt on. All joking aside, it’s a good time, and these guys are fantastic musicians. Definitely on the list for anyone needing a fresh take on old 70s southern rock.
It may have been tough to hear, but The Vaccines put on a damn good show. They remind one of early Arctic Monkeys, sounding way too familiar in the English pop punk genre. They’re the kind of group that digs into their instrument hard, giving the microphones hell on earth. But they’re fun, even if the crowd was ultimately given a wall of distorted noise.
Shaky Knees keeps getting better, and we’ve still got one more day to go. Keep up for thoughts tomorrow on Julien Baker, Explosions in the Sky and of course, Florence & the Machine.