The second day of Shaky Knees yielded many more excuses to dance in the rain. Read up on our favorite sets below, and check out photos of these artists and more by photographer Bobby Russell in the gallery by clicking above.
Packway Handle Band
We started off our Saturday at Shaky Knees with the Packway Handle Band and their extremely self-aware bluegrass. They’re not immune to country tropes, like when they sing “a bar is a just a church that serves beer,” but their lyrics are all clever, delivered with a wink. They’ve even got a self-titled song that asks “what is a packway handle?” and outlines their mission statement, explaining what they will and won’t sing. Most importantly, though, is the music itself, and the Packway Handle Band consists of some mega-talented pickers, all of whom are also capable of providing some killer harmonies as well.
The Lone Bellow
I caught the first half of Lord Huron’s set before heading over to see the tail end of The Lone Bellow, and no disrespect to Lord Huron (who also were great), but as soon as I arrived at the Ponce de Leon Stage, I forgot about anything else I had seen that day. The Lone Bellow’s live energy is contagious, and by the end of the set, they stepped to the front of the stage and had the entire crowd singing along to “Teach Me to Know.”
Like The Lone Bellow, Dawes is another band you have to see live to truly appreciate, and they didn’t disappoint, blazing through old favorites like the undeniably great “When My Time Comes,” “A Little Bit of Everything” and “Time Spent in Los Angeles” as well as some promising-soundng new material. Could this mean LP4 is in the works? We can only hope.
It feels like every passing day makes me a little more eager for Phox’s debut album to drop, and their set on Saturday was no exception. Frontwoman Monica Martin’s voice is serene yet commanding, and every song she performed—including the single “Slow Motion”—made me wish I was already cradling the album against my chest.
Portugal. The Man
Fact: it is impossible to have a bad time at a Portugal. The Man show. This is at least partly because John Gourley and company always seem to be having so much fun themselves, whether they’re grooving through tracks like “Purple, Yellow, Red & Blue,” “Evil Friends” and “So American” or covering Day Man from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Dawes pulled double-duty at Shaky Knees, playing their own solo set and then reappearing on the same stage an hour later to back Conor Oberst. “In a few minutes I’ll be able to live out a lifelong dream right over there and see The Replacements live,” Oberst told the crowd, and that excitement seeped into his set, especially on newer tracks like “Hundreds of Ways.” The skies opened up right as he was finishing his set, but it didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits—instead it served as a nice grand finale to Oberst’s set.
By the time Paul Westerberg, Tommy Stinson and company were supposed to take the stage, the rain had turned vicious, drenching dedicated fans waiting to see the reunited band. The Replacements started their set about 10 minutes late due to the weather, but it was so worth the wait to see the legendary band play classics like “Swingin’ Party,” “Bastards of Young,” “Merry Go Round,” “Kiss Me on the Bus,” “Can’t Hardly Wait,” and “Alex Chilton.” Even when Westerberg briefly forgot the lyrics to the latter, his badassery remained intact—a smirk and a shrug from Paul Westerberg is sometimes just as good as words. The band brought out Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong (or as the drunk guy behind me excitedly misidentified him, “SLASH!!”) to play guitar with them for the set, and you could tell from the enormous grin plastered across his face that Armstrong was happy to just be breathing the same air as The Replacements, let alone playing with them. We even got a “Judy is a Punk” cover; I can basically die now.
The weather forced Modest Mouse to start their set a little late, but once they hit the stage, they didn’t disappoint. Isaac Brock and company managed to transform Atlantic Station into a giant, wet dance party, particularly during favorites like “Ocean Breathes Salty,” “Float On” “The Whale Song” and “Dashboard.” It was an impressive set, and it mostly highlighted the fact that seven years without a new Modest Mouse album is far too long. You’ve got thousands of drenched fans in Atlanta patiently waiting for some new material, Mr. Brock.