Shaky Knees Music Festival: Day One

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Shaky Knees Music Festival: Day One

It may have been a rainy day in Atlanta on Saturday for the inaugural Shaky Knees Music Festival, but it certainly didn’t put a damper on the festivities. Music fans embraced the downpour, making each performance an experience that festival-goers aren’t likely to forget. Here are a few of the Paste staff’s memorable sets from the day.

The Joy Formidable
Proving once again that they’re far more than just hype, The Joy Formidable dominated the O4W Park Stage mid-afternoon with an incendiary set that pulled heavily from their sophomore album, Wolf’s Law. The group brought all the energy and grit present on their albums and then some, with lead singer Ritzy Bryan and bassist Rhydian Dafydd duking out killer riffs in one corner and drummer Matthew James Thomas pounding away like a madman in the other. Despite the Zeppelin-like intensity, however, Bryan’s beautiful, ethereal vocals gave the whole proceedings a hypnotic edge. Then, as if the heavens themselves approved of the band’s performance, the sun even pierced through the gray fog of clouds towards the end of their set. —Mark Rozeman

Moon Taxi
Moon Taxi  played a lovely, more stripped-down set in the Paste VIP room. On the Masquerade Music Park Stage, however, the band busted out the whole bag of tricks, delivering a lively, energetic performance that surely converted anyone not previously familiar with the Nashville-based quintet. It certainly helped that the band seemed genuinely enthused to be playing, heavy rain and all. Indeed, despite the downpour, lead singer/guitarist Trevor Terndrup never lost the huge grin on his face. —Mark Rozeman

Gary Clark, Jr.
A guitar virtuoso from Austin, Texas, 29-year old Gary Clark, Jr. broke out in a big way with 2011’s The Bright Lights EP and last year’s Blak and Blu LP. He took the O4W Park Stage promptly at 6:30 PM and launched into a fuzzy guitar groove that characterized much of his set. While Clark’s skills are undeniable, however, his brand of jam-friendly blues-rock perhaps proved to be a bit too meandering for an audience whose energy was already waning due to hours of rain and cold. —Mark Rozeman

Vintage Trouble
The rain didn’t deter Vintage Trouble’s dedicated fans—who have dubbed themselves the Troublemakers—and in fact it seemed to fuel the band. Singer Ty Taylor tore through favorites from their album The Bomb Shelter Sessions like “Blues Hand Me Down” and “Nancy Lee” before joining the crowd in the downpour not once but twice. The band even tweeted a short video of it yesterday, announcing that the Shaky Knees “soul pit turned into a rain dance.” —Bonnie Stiernberg

Jim James
The rain was still falling during the My Morning Jacket frontman’s 7:30 set, and at several points he seemed genuinely touched that so many people were enduring the elements to see him. He paused before the climactic note of “A New Life” (“once mooOOOOOOOORE”) to note how much love he was feeling: “All this love in the rain. This is incredible. I’m never going to forget this.” Believe us, Jim, the feeling was mutual. Later on he wrapped up the set by declaring it had been a spiritual experience. —Bonnie Stiernberg

Band of Horses
Saturday’s headliner began their set to a large crowd despite the inclement weather. Given the enthusiasm of the audience, who seemed to be mouthing every word, Ben Bridwell and the band’s heart-wrenching performance of old favorites and new tracks was the perfect end to a memorable day. —Dacey Orr