Shaky Beats: From Centennial Olympic Park to Central Park
Photos courtesy of aLIVE Coverage for Shaky Beats Music Festival
Days later and my neck and spine are still shaking. Only having been on Sunday’s the past two years of Shaky Beats, I did not know what to expect. Home festivals (Georgia for me) are typically more exciting because you are more comfortable with your surroundings, problem solving is way easier, and best of all friends and family usually join the party. The stacked lineup in addition to the new venue plus another stage set Shaky Beats up for crazy weekend.
Central Park in Midtown is the new home of Shaky Beats. The park itself is smaller than the previous location, Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta. Although everyone may not be a fan to the new home, Central Park has some perks over the old venue. It is a little hilly, but who’s counting steps anyway. I personally am a fan to the new home for a few reasons…
Although the park is still in the city, it doesn’t have the feel that it’s still extremely busy around the festival. There are a few skyscrapers in sight but for the most part the park is in a residential area. Some residents even got some great views of the festival from the courtesy of their homes. The four stages were connected by short walks with landmarks like the baseball field, the goal post, or the courts. Ponce (De Leon) was underneath a tent while the new, Criminal Records Stage, was in the woods. Oh yeah, woods. There were actually some trees for shade!
Criminal Records Stage
I hope you got to stop by the Criminal Records Stage once or twice if you attended Shaky Beats. The stage was small, intimate, and covered with trees. The area had vendors, one of the free water stations, and space to chill on the ground. The stage setup itself was simple, nothing over the top. Great production in the sound and lighting. The prop above the stage even had flash words across the stage like ‘SHAKY’, ‘BEATS’, ‘TREES’, ‘WOODS’, ‘PARTY’ and so on.
It was not one of the main stages, but I know the stage saw traffic because it definitely held a crowd anytime I watched a show throughout the weekend. It was even more awesome to have some friends at the stage watching some sets. Specifically Manic Focus and their funky ways blowing minds and Shiba San‘s house mode had me “feeling something in my soul”. Other musical highlights I saw at the Criminal Records Stage for the weekend included: Space Jesus, BLEEP BLOOP, and TOKiMONSTA. Funny story about BLEEP BLOOP: I was joking earlier in the day being like “I don’t know who or what a BLEEP BLOOP is and I don’t know if I’m gonna see them.” Low and behold I watched his show and it was pretty tight. So if you are questioning what a BLEEP BLOOP is at a festival, make sure you check him out.
Ponce De Leon Stage
Neighboring Criminal Records was Ponce De Leon. It had a different look than last year. This year, Ponce De Leon was set underneath a tent which was a little different than the open roof look of previous years. Still however on concrete, it actually was the only stage on concrete. The concrete did not impact my limits to the stage, but I only saw few sets there. BONNIE X CLYDE and Autograf were my two favorites from Ponce De Leon.
BONNIE X CLYDE was highly energetic. It was my first time seeing the girl/guy duo. The two came highly recommended from friends so I knew I should check them out. BONNIE X CLYDE were tearing it up taking turns standing in front of the crowd with the mic singing and getting the crowd hype. I remember looking at the sound booth and the sound guy was hype like he was playing. BONNIE X CLYDE was one glimpse on the few female artists throughout the weekend.
Autograf was one dope set to be at on Sunday. Travis and I decided to leave Louis the Child a little early to catch some of Autograf. We arrive to the three man electronic group mixing on boards and drumming on a percussion set. The crowd was lively and it was definitely a good change of pace. We even found some friends I met from Hangout to get down and funky with for the rest of the set.
Piedmont Stage was the lone ranger on the hill. It was one of two main stages, so it had a fairly nice sized area. Its location made it easiest to find and to navigate from toward other parts of the park. Here you could find vendors, the goalpost, a free water station, and the huge ‘SMILE’ sign in front of Mike’s Hard Lemonade. The stage attracted some heavy hitters like: Herobust, K?D (pronounced kid), Playboi Carti, Kayzo (pronounced with a long ‘a’), and Seven Lions. I almost forgot about one guy who does not play around, Dillon Francis.
I decided to save the best for last, Peachtree. My favorite stage from the weekend due to all of its acts for sure. The hills looking at the stage provided comfort and relaxation at times. It was possible to sit under a tree while stretching or enjoying a popsicle from King of Pops and watching a set. It was a huge open area that never seemed too crowded. It was easy to find the totems my friends held from behind at anytime. I was disappointed not to see ‘PEACHTREE’ above the stage but the giant ‘SHAKY BEATS’ displays on the sides added some illustration. The backdrop of the city surrounding produced eye candy whether it was day or night, especially during sunset.
Like I said, some of my favorite acts were at Peachtree throughout the weekend. In no particular order…
G Jones: His set could have for sure been a night set. I only say that because his visuals and his music was going so hard it felt like night time vibes. The twist and turns of his strange visuals had the crowd as hype as it could have been considering the daytime heat. Another great G Jones set, well played sir.
TroyBoi: I guess they had major decisions to make about some artists’ time slots and stages, TroyBoi being another one of those. The London native had his usual ovation from the crowd as he cranked out his trap beats. I can come to appreciate his music especially when he throws in samples in music from my elders generation, his track “ili”. Thanks again TroyBoi.
Ludacris: Always a fan favorite, especially in Atlanta! Seeing his sets never get old because you realize how many songs of his you like. It’s like half the crowd turns into rappers during his set. You might be messing up some of the words trying to be your version of Ludacris, but his shows are always tight. He was taking attendance of his perspective audience at Shaky Beats before a song and I was glad to hear him shoutout light skins. It was awesome and shocking to be one of few treasures in the crowd; Woot woot! Don’t worry, I’m sure he mentioned you too. I’ll consider myself a proud day one Ludacris fan and I’d be glad to see his shows in the future.
Marshmello: If we are being honest, I had my pre hate on high for his show after my first Marshmello show at Hangout last year. Marshmello destroyed all expectations I had. Hands down one of my favorite sets of the weekend. He had a roller coaster set playing fan favorites mixing songs like Ookay‘s “Thief” with transitions to random songs like “Living on a Prayer“. His set was so colorful and vibrant. Visuals with mini Marshmello‘s trolling in different forms was priceless. Not to mention the confetti, lasers, smoke blasts, and fire accompanying the set. Stay puft Marshmello.
Excision: Now this guy is the majority reason I decided to go to Shaky Beats this year. After seeing ROBO KITTY live last year, I try and make it a musical priority to see Excision when I can. Sure enough he filled up Peachtree for the sundown set. Of course he came out guns blazing accompanied by Harambe and some other multi eyed furry haired things, all visuals of course. Being caught between two moshpits was like keeping an eye on rogue tornadoes. I even watched someone get full blown hip tossed. It was all ok because I looked around and saw most of my friends, not moshing and having a terrific time. I enjoy seeing Excision for a few reasons but most importantly to remind me that “I’m a fuckin’ headbanger!”
The lineup produced stellar acts everyday whether I mentioned them or not, so respect to everyone who performed. Much love was spread from shoutouts to the late Avicii, Michael Jackson visuals, or Kayzo giving a shoutout for Mother’s Day. I think the crowd received and reciprocated the feelings. Since it was a home festival, I had the pleasure of seeing a handful familiar faces: a pair of cousins, Ramsey, a few Brittany’s, Hangout friends, some twins, homies, and more. Can’t forget my two totem groups ‘Bob Ross’ and ‘Hell Yeah I Suck Toes’; both super fun groups to be around. With the dust and fatigue after Friday, I was questioning if I could handle the next two days. However, I weathered the storm and survived. Not sure how everyone else’s Shaky experience was, but overall I had a blast this year. Be on the lookout for Shaky Beats 2019!