We're not going to say that nature is healing because that's pretty overstated these days, especially when talking about life after love or, like, life after 2020. However, the return of one of the most outrageously jam-packed music festivals in the city is a big deal.
The Hamtramck Music Festival is back. Like, actually back and, for its eighth orbit around the sun, it's louder than ever. The massive festival takes place during three nights across 15 venues in a city hailed as "The World in Two Square Miles," aka Hamtown, aka Hamtramck. Per usual, the music lineup is, uh, well, let's just say it's a lot. As in 150 performances a lot. And, listen, as much as we'd like to soak in every single band, it's not humanly possible — at least not yet. (Yay, science!) But what you can do is check out these 10 acts that will make you really glad you left the house.
Emma Guzman was described by Metro Times (hey, that's us!) as a "songwriting prodigy" when she was just 14, topping our 2015 list of artists to watch. Fans of Florence Welch, Townes Van Zandt, and Lucy Dacus might find themselves swatting some tears away when listening to this Tidal-boosted singer-songwriter, who just released a new single. "I'll always be on the run," Guzman sings on "Clean," a song that explores forgiveness, loss, and self-worth. "But someday I will find my peace and leave it up to fate/there'll be laughter in the wind and daisies on your grave." Could you, uh, pass us a tissue?
9:30 p.m. at Polish Village Cafe, 2990 Yemans Ave.
Switching things up — way up — are Detroit punk-rock mainstays Detroit 442. Named after "an old Blondie song, a car engine, a soccer formation, and the number of fires during the 1967 rebellion," Detroit 442 formed in 2006 with frontman Lacy Shelton at the helm. Since forming, they've released dance songs, Stooges covers, and even a holiday song called "Cops (The Christmas Version)," which goes something like this: "Fuck you all, you fucking cops." The fiery fivesome also just released its latest record, The spineless worms and maggots crawling from the shit of America's consciousness, because of course they did.
11:30 p.m. at The Painted Lady Lounge, 2930 Jacob St.
GetLufki & Divine Providence
After a year like 2020, we're all craving a little bit of spiritual intervention. Look no further than Detroit guitarist, composer, and founder of the Divine Providence collective, LuFuki, who dabbles in what he calls Afro-Spirit-Jazz to "unite and heal hearts." New to the scene, LuFuki released his debut album, Inner Horizons, in 2019 and, earlier this year, dropped Elephants and Mountains, an EP to benefit DREAM of Detroit, which aims to end housing insecurity.
12:30 a.m. at P.L.A.V. #10, 11824 Joseph Campau Ave.
If you thought Hamtramck Music Fest was dedicated to, like, music of the rock-leaning varieties, think again. Just look at electronic duo Ke thu. Comprised of Tim Barrett and Steven Savropoulos, Ke thu produces tracks that range from classic club and techno to ethereal, ambient, and atmospheric, as evidenced by their 2021 release, Shared Boundaries, or as we like to call it, "music to make out to but only if you're vaccinated, but mostly the make out part," because yeah ... it's that chill.
5 p.m. at Detroit Zen Center (outdoors), 3030 Casmere St.
If John Frusciante, Devendra Banhart, and Charles Manson's Lie: The Love Terror Cult had a sonic baby, it would probably be Detroit's Jeremy Waun. Or at least the current version of Jeremy Waun, who has, in the last decade, shed his heavy metal résumé (Child Bite, Reverend) to dive into acoustic singer-songwriter-dom and who was hailed in 2015 by Metro Times (namedrop!) as "a singer-songwriter for people who hate singer-songwriters." Wow, we're never saying "singer-songwriter" again, but if our description has confused you, check out Waun's 2021 record Whole World Blues.
8:15 p.m. at Baker Streetcar Bar, 9187 Joseph Campau Ave.
Since 2020, Tim Jones, who performs moody bedroom pop as Alice Dreamt, has released four albums, as in four fucking albums, including his most recent EP, Shades of Puyi. Jones says his goal is to make music that "sounds quaint and cute" before he "completely mutilates them with really fucked-up voices." Neat! What is perhaps most impressive is that each song sounds like at least 25 people were involved with its production when in fact it's just Jones, a laptop, and some shimmery, depressive, creepy-crawly feels.
9:30 p.m. at Moose Lodge, 9421 Conant St.
313's Acid Queen is in the building. Rebecca Goldberg grew up in metro Detroit listening to the likes of Phil Collins and Madonna but was forever changed when she discovered Detroit house royalty Stacey "Hotwaxx" Hale. Goldberg has been clawing her way up the techno totem pole, leaving sensual, beat-heavy, deep-house in her wake.
10 p.m. at The High Dive, 11474 Joseph Campau Ave.
Like the Black Keys? Neither do we, but we do like Detroit stoner psych-rock duo Ladyship Warship, who infuse moody, droning tunes with elements of blues, grit, and the Yardbirds. Brought to you by the folks that gave us Warhorses (or at least 1/2 of the heavy space-rock four-piece), Kristin Lyn and Eric "EZ" Myers' mind-melding adventure as Ladyship Warship is just what the doctor ordered — and by doctor we mean us. We're the doctors now.
11 p.m. at P.L.A.V. #10, 11824 Joseph Campau Ave.
"Get up! Get up! You can sleep when you're dead," demands Helen Lambrix, Annie Covington, and Luckey June, who make "dirty, gritty, stormy, witchy rock 'n' roll" as Detroit's riot grrrl-inspired trio Macho. Yes, they thrash, but what separates Macho from the pack is the ability to fuse traditional punk with bright vocals, discernible hooks, and a Stooges-esque cadence that has us ready to, well, thrash.
3 p.m. at The Film Lab, 3105 Holbrook St. (outdoors)
You know what, fine readers? We're ready to feel good. Which is why we're rounding out this round-up with the sonic stylings of one Jacob Sigman, Detroit's indie bedroom R&B guy whose latest super-polished EP Why Do I Die In My Dreams harks to the catchy feel-goodness of JR JR paired with, you know, very real, very palpable and totally inescapable existential dread.
4:45 p.m. at Detroit Zen Center (outdoors), 3030 Casmere St.
More info at facebook.com/hamtramckwintermusicfest.