Yup, it's time for Michigan's oldest taste festival now christened Comerica Cityfest which means tons of food, free shit, sweaty man-tit, bald-spot burns, day drunks and the best free live music assembled in one place all year. Here are a few staff picks of must-sees.
Demon Days An Official Planet E Selection: Carl Craig's apocalyptic live/DJ events have crossed North America over the last couple years, so why not on an outdoor stage in the D? This time he taps jazzers Marcus Belgrave and Wendell Harrison, Q-Tip's keyboard man Kelvin Sholar, DJs Recloose and 52, Gamall and special surprise guests. (Wednesday, noon, Pure Detroit Stage).
Femi Kuti and the Positive Force: His Afrobeat pop, Fela, partied on the power-to-the-people line. While still political, son Femi sometimes seems to party even harder. (Wednesday, 5:30 p.m., Motorcity Casino Stage)
Gerard Gibbs & ReORGAN'YZ: After swinging the organ chords behind sax man James Carter on the road, Gibbs comes home to lead his more funk-oriented combo. (Wednesday, 4 p.m., Metro PCS Jazz & Blues Stage)
Inside Outlaws Collective: Downriver-bred singer-songwriters will inherit the earth. Just ask Atlantic-signee Ty Stone. (Wednesday, 9 p.m. New Center Council Park Stage)
The Wailers: Bob Marley's gone. Peter Tosh is gone. Bunny Wailer is a homebody. But the band rub-a-dubs on, some original members included. (Thursday, 5:30 p.m., Motor City Casino Stage)
Gorilla Funk Mob starring Allan Barnes: The mobsters blend funk, fusion, hip hop and soul. Barnes pioneered pop fusion under the tutelage of Donald Byrd as saxophonist for the group the Blackbyrds. (Thursday, 7:30 and 9 p.m., Jazz & Blues Stage)
DJ Sicari, DJ K-Fresh, MC Finale, Monica Blaire, Neco Redd, Angelique Brown, Invincible, Miz Korona, L'Renee, Patrice Williams: The cream of smart, community-aware Motor City emcees and DJs. Worthy of countless ankle aches and neck nerve pinches. (Thursday, 9 p.m., Pure Detroit Stage)
The Syreens: Crowd-pleasing folked-up femmes boosted by Audra Kubat's pick and croon. (Friday, 6 p.m., New Center Council Park Stage)
Satin Peaches: OK, certain things are sacred, such as comparing any Beatle to any band anywhere on the planet. So we won't. (Friday, 6:30 p.m., Pure Detroit Stage)
Hot Club of Detroit: Django Reinhardt-inspired jazz took hold in Motown some years ago, and the most successful exponents have been in this club, which made a national mark thanks to their Mack Avenue label debut disc. (Friday, 7:30 and 9 p.m., Jazz & Blues Stage)
The Sirens: Ever wonder what the house band in a women's prison would sound like? (Friday, 8 p.m., New Center Council Park Stage)
The Detroit Cobras: World's greatest cover band that knocks the cover off. (Friday, 9 p.m., New Center Council Park Stage)
Tumbao Bravo: Percussionist Alberto Nacif and saxophonist Paul Vornhagen joined forces four or so years ago to put their ideas about Latin jazz into action: strong compositions, room for heated solos and a tight combo sound to support it all. (Saturday, 2 p.m., Jazz & Blues Stage)
Siddhartha: As oil-marked as the old MC5, melodic like Arthur Lee and black as Detroit. The proverbial Next Big Thing. (Saturday, 8 p.m., New Center Council Stage)
Raysee Biggs: Lots of trumpeters double on flügelhorn, but Biggs can double-up and play both at the same time. Yes, he's played alongside folks from Diz to Kid Rock, but we had to mention the two-horn thing. (Saturday, 7:30 and 9, Jazz & Blues Stage)
The Go: If its last two albums are any kind of indication, then the Go should be giant. But "coulda-shoulda-wouldas" can kill a band every time. (Saturday, 9 p.m., New Center Council Park Stage)
Polka Floyd: Polka covers of Pink Floyd give them 1,000 Weird Al points! (Sunday, 11:45 a.m. and 1 p.m., New Center Council Park Stage)
Detroit Soul and Blues Revue featuring Sir Mack Rice, Alberta Adams, Johnnie Bassett, RJ Spangler & the Rhythm Rockers: RJ has made a career out of putting simpatico younger bands behind the elders of Detroit blues and R&B. If you don't know Alberta and Johnnie, we hope you know the Rice-penned classic "Mustang Sally." (Sunday, 6 p.m., Jazz & Blues Stage)
Citizen Smile: Years underage, straight as hell and loud as fuck. We even hear the ghost of Stuart Adamson! (Sunday, 5 p.m., New Center Council Park Stage)
The Displays: What would result if you crossed the After School Special with the Sights. Wait. How old are these punks? (Sunday, 7 p.m., New Center Council Park Stage)
CityFest runs Wednesday, July 4 through Sunday, July 8, 11:30 a.m. 10:30 p.m. (except 8 p.m. Sunday). West Grand Boulevard between Woodward Avenue and the Lodge expressway, Detroit; 313-927-2700.
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