Friday, May 20, 2016

Shaky Knees Retrospective, Day 2 Part Two

Okay, we're back to reviewing last weekend's Shaky Knees festival now.  Last we talked, we were at the Ponce de Leon Stage having enjoyed a belated but rewarding set by Shaky Knees.  As the crowd filed away from the Ponce stage to parts unknown (Deer Tick? Wild Nothing?), we took advantage of the empty space and grabbed a good spot near the front of the stage to wait the short time between sets for Phosphorescent to take the stage (a short wait since Shaky Graves had a late start due to a power failure and was allowed to run late).  Before too long, we were rewarded for our patience with a great spot to watch and hear

Phosphorescent (Ponce de Leon Stage)

Phosphorescent, of course, is Athens, Georgia resident Matthew Houck, but the audience was having fun during his set by enthusiastically calling out "Keyboards!" and insisting on a solo from Jo Schornikow.

Houck conceded, of course, but that only led to more calls for solos from "Bass Guy!" and "Steel Guitar Man!" and even "Auxilliary Percussion Guy!"  It was all done, and received on stage, in friendly good cheer, and as a measure of the warm rapport between the musicians and the audience.

Other than the song It's Hard To Be Humble When You're From Alabama which pretty much requires a horn section, Houck performed everything you'd want to head form a Phosphorescent set, including stand-outs Los Angeles, Song For Zula, and Ride On/Right On as the three-song set closer.

After Phosphorescent, we stayed at the Ponce stage again, and got an even slightly better, almost front row, position to watch

The Decemberists (Ponce Stage) 

We saw The Decemberists (twice) last year during their two-night stand at The Tabernacle, and their stage looked similar to that show, although their set list included fewer songs from their recent What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World, but instead reached throughout their discography, opening with a medley from The Hazards of Love, and including The Crane's Wife Parts 1, 2 and 3, Calamity Song and Down By the Water from The King Is Dead, and closing, as always, with The Mariner's Revenge Song.

The Decemberists are one of our favorites, so perhaps we're prejudiced, but their set stands out to us now as one of the highlights of this year's Shaky Knees festival

After The Decemberists, we finally left the Ponce Stage (we had been encamped there for almost five hours), and headed for the Peachtree Stage and the comforts of the VIP pavilion (free beer!) for

My Morning Jacket (Peachtree Stage)

By the time we made it over there, the band was already in full gear.  Of course, arriving late we weren't able to get as close as these photographs suggest (it's called telephoto lens, folks), and were still in a Decemberist frame of mind, so despite Jim James' best efforts and the steam jets fired off during songs and the confetti cannons and all of the other bells and whistles of a My Morning Jacket set, we never quite connected.  

Alert readers will recall that back in 2012 we saw MMJ in the Oregon countryside at a McMenamin's winery on the lower flanks of Mount Hood and were blown away, considering it one of the best shows we saw all year.  We bring this up to remind the reader that we're fans, but after a long day in the sun and the emotional experience of back-to-back-to-back sets by Shaky Graves, Phosphorescent, and The Decemberists, it was hard to get on board the already run-away locomotive that was the MMJ set.  It's us, not you, and by the time they got around to covering Purple Rain, it was time for us to leave, although we were still able to enjoy State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.) from the street outside the festival as we left.

They didn't perform Holdin'  On To Black Metal, another song which, like Phosphorescent's It's Hard To Be Humble, pretty much requires a horn section, but here's a video of My Morning Jacket performing that song anyway, and what the hell, as long as we're at it, here's Phosphorescent as well.

So that was it for Day 2, two days under our belts and one to go.  I hope we can cover that last day over this weekend.  Meanwhile, here's your parting shot:

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