Shaky Knees 2019 - Day One

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This was my second Shaky Knees festival, held in Central Park in Atlanta's historic "Old Fourth Ward" community. A week prior, the forecast for the festival included dismal prospects of rain: 50% Friday, 100% Saturday and 100% Sunday.  However, the weather service is on a roll of late of completely missing on forecasts.  Despite occasional threatening clouds, the weekend was clear except for Saturday evening during the final set.

As usual, we were greeted by the Atlanta's ever-present scalpers, buying or selling wristbands, as well as those selling bottles of water (not allowed within) and T-shirts (unofficial ones).  Security, I'll say was fairly easy and organized, but I didn't read this year's edition of the rules.  Having spied "Wind pouches" - essentially thick plastic bags that you swoosh around to fill with air to make a chair or couch - I brought one this year, the perfect thing for hanging back when the music matters less and the back and feet deserve a break.  Well, not permitted.  What the heck?  There is literally no place to sit within the park except on the ground.  I can manage that, and did, but c'mon.

The side benefit was that I had downloaded the Lime app in preparation of a future need, and therefore was prepared to try out Atlanta's burgeoning "sharing economy" means of transportation, namely an electric scooter.  They're super convenient for the final gap of a commute when using public transit or for downtown residents.  Or, they're a public menace for drivers and pedestrians.  It depends on who you ask, and my opinion is that they're some of both.  Around the festival area, the scooters could be considered "littered" along the sidewalks.

Afflicted cities are studying related injury rates, and it turns out that hospital data is suggesting that about 30% of the injuries they receive are by first time riders.  That doesn't include the injuries that don't make it to hospitals, so... it's just a statistic, right?  No worries, though! Helmets are required per the City of Atlanta and the Lime app.  Only, eh, no one walks around with a helmet, and no scooter company has yet to figure out how to provide them without going broke.

The scooter was intuitive to operate with accelerator on the right handle and a brake on the left, with a sturdy frame.  Overall, I saved about 30 minutes to return my contraband to the car.  Interestingly, Atlanta apparently passed a regulation that they're allowed only on the streets.  That's a death sentence given Atlanta's street conditions and its frustrated drivers, so, like everyone else, I stuck to the sidewalks, which weren't too bumpy but featured low lying limbs and, of course, pedestrians to dodge.  My son later told me that "Coming through!" is the common notice to people in your way, and I suppose that's the way the younger generation literally rolls.  In any case, for $1 to unlock and $0.15 per minute afterwards, it was a bargain, allowing me to return to the venue in time to catch the second half of Curtis Harding's set.  Music.  The reason I came.

Curtis Harding
 Harding is a neo-soul artist, carrying the requisite voice, good tunes and music sensibilities.  Highlights included "Till the End" and "Need Your Love." And then it's off to IDLES, a British punk band. A quick look pretty much tells you, well, me anyway, it's not my scene, but others in my group enjoyed it, including the obligatory mosh pit.


Speaking of the crew... A good time was had by all.  That's my son sporting my 1990 McCartney tour shirt.

Then it was on to Peach Pit, a serviceable band, with a share of fans who knew some of their lyrics. 

Peach Pit
Back to the Piedmont stage, one of the two large ones, to see Sharon Van Etten.  Entirely serviceable, with a mix of styles.  Almost every artist at this festival was an unknown to me, and I put in the effort to sample music from all of them, then deciding in a playoff format which of the two bands performing at a given time that I'd rather see.  Through the afternoon, I didn't really care and floated around.

Sharon Van Etten
Next up was Liz Phair, an artist I'd heard of but hadn't actually listened to.  Her fairly straightforward set was okay, but the conversation from our resident musicologist was helpful in understanding she came to fame rephrasing or responding to the Rolling Stones "Exile on Main Street" in the view point of a woman.  And she's 52.

Liz Phair
Next up was a brief visit to hear Dashboard Confessional, a favorite of the daughter of someone in my group (#DaddyFail).  We politely listened to a couple of songs from Rock's answer to Nickelback, and departed posthaste. 

This also gave us the opportunity to get a little closer for Incubus.  This is one of those bands you've probably heard on the radio but didn't care enough to figure out who they were because they sound a lot like a number of bands.  "Drive" is their big hit, which they didn't play on this occasion.   Decent, good performance, but I was distracted by the bright red shoes in the VIP side balcony.  Why?  It's  right in the sweet spot for post Red Hot Chili Peppers rock music, good for a beat and fairly mindless. 

Next up was Tears for Fears, a favorite in my college days.  My son and I only stayed around into the third song, because of all the weekends, one of my favorite prog rock bands chose this night to play just down the road, and we had to get there in time, resulting in cutting this show short and missing Beck completely.  They started off with "Everyone wants to rule the world," which was solid, then "Secret World," a snoozer, then the Beatles-ish but overly long "Sowing the Seeds of Love."  They played "Creep" by Radiohead which I would have liked to have heard, but they only played three tracks off  their classic Songs from the Big Chair album.  So, I can live with having missed the rest of the set.

Tears for Fears

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