6 can’t-miss acts at Hamtramck Music Fest

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Jibs Brown.
Jibs Brown. Natalie Assemany

The sixth annual Hamtramck Music Fest kicks off this weekend — a volunteer-run, multi-day, all-local marathon of musical performances from more than 200 bands spread across 24 of the city's venues. Proceeds from wristband sales benefit music programming at Hamtramck Public Schools, and there are some all-ages and daytime and early evening events to catch as well. Here's our six picks:

SexTez & the Vybe

Thursday; Ant Hall, 2320 Caniff St., Hamtramck; 313-365-4255

Musician Martez Claybren continues pushing boundaries — whether it's the new single he dropped with the new SexTez project ("Cruise Control"); a standout single from his 2017 debut, "Balance"; or his collaboration as lead vocalist for a funk-inclined supergroup called Detroit Rising. Claybren's blends of R&B and hip-hop exude a sense of exploration, experimentation, and provocation, edged with the fortitude that comes with being Raised In The Jungle (the title of his debut).

Intricate Dialect

Friday; Polish Sea League, 2601 Edwin St., Hamtramck; 313-872-8772

This Detroit-based hip-hop artist-poet-podcaster has been releasing albums for nearly two decades, with Ann Arbor-based Abolitionists and later as a solo emcee through the local label ModernKnot Artists. I.D. has a new album of mysticism-musing and meditational raps coming out this weekend, sharing a live session from Motown Shakedown featuring a performance of the new tape (Ma'at Daemon), and then turning his HMF set into an unofficial album-release party.

Nique Love Rhodes & the NLR Experience

Saturday; P.L.A.V. Post #10, 11824 Joseph Campau Ave., Hamtramck; 313-893-1355

Nique Love Rhodes is a dynamic performer and singer-songwriter leading a multi-faceted ensemble of musicians known as the NLR Experience. Her songs fuse hip-hop with funk, rock with jazz, and soul with pop hooks and melodies. Imagine a melding of the Roots, Bob Marley, Lauryn Hill, and Common ... and you'll be close to getting an idea of what to expect at the NLR set, closing out the night, Saturday at P.L.A.V. Post 10.


Friday, P.L.A.V. Post #6, 9545 McDougall St., Hamtramck; 313-874-5322

ZZvava are among the bands touring into the Detroit area for HMF, not that they're traveling that far. The Ypsi-based quartet is a real Swiss-army knife of a rock 'n' roll band, with four very unique songwriters trading off the arrangement pen. Beyond that, they also like to trade their instruments, with members rotating around like musical chairs — only they're not sitting. In fact, they're quite a high-energy live act, and we wouldn't put it past one or two of them to even venture off of the stage and into the crowd.


Saturday, Ant Hall, 2320 Caniff St., Hamtramck; 313-365-4255

Lyricist Bryan Lackner has been building toward the release of his new album (which dropped last week) for more than 10 years. Perhaps more familiar to hip-hop fans of five-years past as one-half of the high-energy duo Passalacqua, Mister's bringing his panache-infused everyman self-deprecations and on-the-fly philosophies by way of motor-boat velocity enunciations to the collaborative table with U.K. rapper Curt Cataract on the new album Approaching Land.

Jibs Brown & the Jambros

Saturday, High Dive, 11474 Joseph Campau Ave., Hamtramck

The versatile blues-soul vocalist Jibs Brown is intent on one thing: a groove. He leads the Jambros, providing bass, guitar, drums, and saxophone to his rich vocals as they intertwine with interchangeably gruff or elegant strums of his acoustic guitar. Find a track like "Float This River" off the band's latest EP (on Bandcamp) to get a sense for the kind of melodic hooks they swing, to where it's impossible not to sway. (And by the third chorus, sing-along.)

See hamtramckmusicfest.com for full schedule; Tickets are $15 for wristbands for the festival, March 7-9.

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