Shaky Beats Festival Review

May 20-22, 2016, Atlanta, GA

Written by John Mikeska

Photos by aLIVE Coverage Photography

Fresh off the heels of Shaky Knees, the inaugural Shaky Beats festival featured “beats-driven” acts across 3 stages – Peachtree, Piedmont, and Ponce de Leon.

Artists from the weekend included Com Truise, ODESZA, Major Lazer, Chromeo, Porter Robinson, Big Gigantic and Nas, as well as

ZHU, AlunaGeorge and Years & Years, Carnage, Duke Dumont, Yellow Claw, A$AP Ferg, Tory Lanez, Cherub, MØ, Marshmello, Yeasayer, and many more!

After the Friday rain settled, Saturday at Shaky Beats was truly one for the books. For many in attendance, a weekend highlight came when Atlanta rapper Waka Flocka Flame joined Marshmello on stage during the DJ’s set. Following shortly after, Danish electro-pop vocalist played a gripping set on the Piedmont Stage with a decidedly infectious vibe and groove-provoking sensibility. An impressive and unique sense of rhythm guides her movements as she slides and gyrates across the stage to the tune of a heavy-hitting drummer and guitarist for live instrumentation.

Fan-favorites Chromeo played a lively set of up-tempo, groove oriented dance beats. Capable of turning on a dime with dramatic dynamic shifts, their sound is at times reminiscent of LCD Soundsystem or Talking Heads with a Talk Box, but remains unique lyrically.

Over at the main stage, Porter Robinson put his latest production on display. A self-proclaimed lover of “visceral melody”, he incorporates many aspects of the live show into his on-stage set-up to bring his vision to life.

And so it goes..

The day turned to night, and all of a sudden it was an evening where a full-moon and towering cityscape set the backdrop for yet another inspired experience of musical and emotional connectivity.

ODESZA took to the main-stage and facilitated a connection between artist and appreciator that implored you to feel a part of something special.

The duo from Seattle got to work on the heartstrings as they patiently (yet expertly) unwound the subtle tensions of the spirit and coaxed the soul from the innermost core, out into the ether. Allthewhile, spinning threads of consciousness that intertwine and comingle as the Southern sky bathed Centennial Olympic Park in lunar-luminescence.

ODESZA decorates their sound with accoutrements that seem to inspire interior illuminations of a solemn and profound disposition. Within their universe, delicately mixed vocals and smooth palpitating rhythms coalesce to form impressive, awe-inspiring arrangements.

Their expansive set traversed seamlessly and featured stunning examples of “Koto” and “All We Need”.

Bloom” in actuality, evokes a blossoming vibe of awakening, enlivening bliss. This particular groove inspires a sustained sizzle of contemplation akin to tobacco burning at the end of a cigarette.

Moving from tribal-rhythms to rich vocal harmonies, “Kusanagi” is a prime example of the childlike wonder and contemplative seriousness that ODESZA weaves together so brilliantly.

For the set-closer and encore portion of the show, they welcomed a full drum-line on stage to contribute to the revelry of an exceedingly convivial occasion.

Perhaps the most redeeming quality of ODESZA is their seemingly effortless ability to blur the lines between the highs and lows of the emotional experience. They’re able to go beyond the positive/negative dynamic to encompass the full-range of emotion; appreciative of the sad and apprehensive of the happy in ways that aptly find redemptive qualities throughout.

ODESZA brings their expressions to life via luscious soundscapes and melodious effervescence to provide an evocative journey through time, space, color and sound that stoke the smoldering fires of introspection long after the show ends.

Sunday featured a long-anticipated performance from Nas and a headline set from Big Gigantic to close out the inaugural Shaky Beats festival. During the final act, Big Gigantic welcomed Big Boi on the stage for a couple tunes including Big Boi’s own “Shutter Bug” and OutKast’s “The Way You Move”.

The facilities and hospitality at the festival were on-par with some of the best in the business. Founder & curator of Shaky Festivals LLC, Tim Sweetwood said he was “pleased with how well the first Shaky Beats went”. He went on to comment on the “real sense of unity and happiness amongst festival goers all weekend”. From the quality of the artist lineup to the high-level of production made available to them, the festival also featured an extensive art & food market to round-off the sensational setting that Shaky Beats 2016 played host to.

The festival goers from this year’s event witnessed a proverbial one-two punch that started the previous week with Shaky Knees on to the one-of-a-kind experience that Shaky Festivals LLC has grown in to.