another Shaky Knees Festival preview: looking beyond the headliners

I’m not going to Shaky Knees this weekend in Atlanta, but Anna Chandler and Peterson Worrell will be there and provide coverage of the festival here at hissing lawns. It’s the first time any of our writers or photographers have “officially” covered out of town gigs (the blog is just 8 months old), but we’re excited about expanding our offerings. (Click here for Anna’s big preview.)

I’m really impressed with the Shaky Knees lineup, and I was especially struck by the number of acts that have come through Savannah in recent years — and I was struck even more by the number that I’ve been lucky to see in relatively small venues, up close and personal. No, you aren’t going to see Alabama Shakes or The National at The Jinx or Hang Fire, but at this point in my life I’ll take a lesser known act in an intimate bar over a bigger name in a cavernous venue any day.

So here’s the Shaky Knees lineup, with all the bands in bold that have played Savannah in recent years. I’m adding notes here and there. By the way, I’m almost certainly leaving some out, so please feel free to add details and corrections in the comments.

A few conclusions I’m tempted to draw as I look at this list: 1) in just a few short years Savannah Stopover has been booking up-and-coming talent with big things ahead, 2) on any given tour, some well-known bands might be willing to play some intimate venues in a smallish city like Savannah, and 3) Shaky Knees attendees could have an amazing weekend even if they skip the headliners (but you’d be crazy actually to do that).

The Weeks in Ellis Square at Savannah Stopvoer 2014

The Weeks in Ellis Square at Savannah Stopvoer 2014

Alabama Shakes – I don’t even remember this show, but Tom Cartmel reminds me that Alabama Shakes played Trustees Theater in 2011.
The National
Modest Mouse
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – I missed this show, but ES&MZ played Trustees Theater in 2010.
The Replacements
Local Natives
The Gaslight Anthem
Violent Femmes
Cage the Elephant – Played the Shoreline Ballroom in Hilton Head in 2009.
Portugal. the Man
Dropkick Murphys – Played The Jinx in 2007.
Conor Oberst – Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band played Hilton Head’s Shoreline Ballroom in 2008.
Iron & Wine – I missed this 2011 Trustees Theater gig too.
Trampled By Turtles
Jason Isbell – Wow. An amazing performance at the Ships of the Sea during the 2014 Savannah Music Festival. Isbell also played Locos back in 2010.
Jenny Lewis
Lord Huron
Cold War Kids – CWK played SCAD’s New Alumni Concert in 2011 in Forsyth Park. I was excited about seeing them, but the absurd moat around the “band shell” gave the entire show sort of a disjointed feeling.
The Airborne Toxic Event
The Lone Bellow – Missed the shows, but another Savannah Music Festival 2014 act at Ships of the Sea.
Deer Tick
The Hold Steady – I had not followed The Hold Steady closely but still jumped at the chance to see them in the tight confines of the now-defunct Live Wire Music Hall in 2010.
Band of Skulls
Tokyo Police Club
Blitzen Trapper – Looking forward to seeing BT at The Jinx, which has a capacity somewhere south of 150, this coming Monday, after they leave Shaky Knees. This show was booked by Savannah Stopover/MusicFile Productions.
White Denim
Wild Belle
Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires – The Screaming Eagle of Soul played the Savannah Music Festival in 2013 and was sort of brilliant just last night at The Jinx, on the band’s way to Shaky Knees. I’ll be posting pics soon. The gig was set up by Savannah Stopover/MusicFile Productions.
Langhorne Slim & The Law
Mason Jennings
The Whigs – I don’t know how many times The Whigs have played Savannah, but the most recent was at the Knights of Columbus for the 2013 Savannah Stopover.
Man Man
Hayes Carll
Gregory Alan Isakov
Kopecky Family Band – Another 2013 Savannah Stopover alum.
The Bright Light Social Hour – OK, if you’re reading this and actually going to Shaky Knees, go see TBLSH. Trust me. The Austin band played Hang Fire a couple of times in 2011.
Jackie Greene – Ditto from above. Jackie Greene played Live Wire Music Hall in 2012 along with Joan Osborne in Trigger Hippy.
Blood Red Shoes
San Fermin
Sleeper Agent
The Weeks – I just can’t say enough about The Weeks, a young band that has already produced, in my mind, a handful of songs that are destined to be classics of new southern rock. They played in Ellis Square as headliner of Savannah Stopover 2014’s free community concert.
Apache Relay
American Aquarium – I’ve been following B.J. and the guys for years and have seen them innumerable times at The Jinx.
Mutual Benefit – I’m looking forward to seeing MB this coming weekend; another Savannah Stopover/MusicFile Productions show.
Wake Owl
The Districts
Packway Handle Band – Excellent band that I’ve seen multiple times in small venues in Savannah. I can’t remember all the places they’ve played, but I’m pretty sure the list includes Locos, Blowin Smoke, Huc A Poos, and Live Wire.
Fly Golden Eagle
Benjamin Booker
Crass Mammoth
Songs for Kids Foundation
The Faint
Roadkill Ghost Choir – Another excellent young southern rock band, with some haunting vocal. They played the 2013 Savannah Stopover and at least once later in the year at The Jinx.
Andrew Combs
Boom Forest
Clear Plastic Masks – CPM played a compelling set opening for The Weeks in Ellis Square at the 2014 Savannah Stopover.
King Dude
New Madrid – A strong and ambitious young band that played Hang Fire in 2013, opened for Futurebirds at the announcement party at The Jinx for the 2014 Savannah Stopover lineup, and then came back for Stopover itself.
Cloud Control
The Black Cadillacs – I was really impressed by their set at Congress Street Social Club for the 2014 Savannah Stopover.
Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun – Another popular act here in Savannah, with recent gigs at No Control in 2012 and The Jinx in 2013 and probably others.
Reptar – An alum from the 2011 Savannah Stopover.
Preston Lovinggood