If you’re heading down to Atlanta, Georgia for Shaky Knees Music Festival, I already know you have good taste in music. The annual summer festival leans more towards rock with a few outliers sprinkled throughout the lineup, allowing for a wider reach across audiences. Last year’s festival featured stellar performances from Courtney Barnett, Matt and Kim, Vance Joy, The National and many others. This year, in an effort to impress audiences yet again, Shaky Knees released the following headliners: Tame Impala, Beck, Cage the Elephant, and Incubus. Okay, Shaky Knees, I see you.
Aside from the rockstar headliners, the festival features a ton of up and coming bands who typically play either of the two smaller stages, Criminal Records and Ponce de Leon. These smaller, more intimate venue options will allow audiences to seriously connect with bands like Lucy Dacus, Soccer Mommy, and Calpurnia. From over 60 bands on the 2019 lineup, we’ve chosen our top five favorite live performers who you shouldn’t miss this year.
1. Liz Phair on Friday, May 3 at 4:35pm on Piedmont Presented by Ford Stage
Singer-songwriter Liz Phair is the ultimate punk rock goddess. With throwbacks like “Why Can’t I” and “My Bionic Eyes,” Phair offers addicting hooks that are supported by a pop punk edge. Celebrated as the original Avril Lavigne in the early 2000s, Phair is exactly the kind of strong female artist that every rock fan needs in their life. Her live show is destined to be a nostalgic trip throughout her extensive discography.
2. Oh Sees on Friday, May 3 at 6:25pm on the Ponce de Leon Stage
Originally formed in 1997, this rock band has gone through several roster changes and iterations of themselves. In 2018 Oh Sees recorded their 19th album, Orc, followed by an acoustic album released under the name OCS and in 2018, Oh Sees put out their 21st album, Smote Reverser. With such history and such an extensive collection of music to choose from, a live performance from this band is sure to be surprising.
3. The Struts on Saturday, May 4 at 5:30pm on the Peachtree Stage
The vibrancy and charisma that Luke Spiller has as the frontman of The Struts is almost unbelievable. Typically dripping in sweat and a glamorous outfit complete with fringe and some sort of leather, Spiller leaves his heart on the stage every single time, as do his bandmates. With bangers like “Body Talks” and “Could Have Been Me,” The Struts are The Rolling Stones reincarnated but with a pop twist. With their set on the main stage at Shaky Knees, this is going to be one of the weekend’s top performances.
4. Fidlar on Saturday, May 4 at 6:30pm on the Piedmont Presented by Ford Stage
If you’re looking for a sick mosh pit, an adrenaline-pumping crowd surf sesh and some seriously anthemic screaming, do not miss Fidlar’s set. The Los Angeles-based punk rock band offers an indie, DIY vibe and are a part of a close-knit group of bands that all work together on creative projects. For instance, Fidlar’s drummer is also part of the band Kitten and lead singer Zac Carper has helped pen songs for SWMRS, Tokyo Police Club and The Frights.
5. Grouplove on Sunday, May 5 at 4:30pm on the Peachtree Stage
By far Grouplove is one of the most captivating, colorful, and overall badass live bands out there right now. The husband-wife lead vocalists are grunge in all the right ways in terms of their aesthetic, featuring either bright green or blue hair and rockstar outfits. With anthems like “Tongue Tied,” “Welcome to Your Life,” and “Big Mess,” crowds at Grouplove shows cannot help but belt the lyrics as they relish in the beauty of this insanely talented band.