Catch these ComFest sets recommended by the Alive staff
3:45 p.m. Friday, Bozo Stage
Boasting new fifth member Kyle Frith and with work on second LP "Creatures" well underway, Phantods make their main-stage debut Friday afternoon. Skipping work would be worth your while to discover the quirky cabaret metal crew, whose twisted concoctions are more refined and potent than ever. Don't miss the boat.
Andy Shaw Band
7:10 p.m. Friday, Gazebo Stage
So your hippie friend wants to spend all day at the drum circle, and you just want to hear some well-executed songs. Compromise by heading to the Gazebo at twilight to see Andy Shaw's reggae-infected rock band. Your buddy can juggle his hacky sack while you appreciate the rich vocal harmonies, Theo Perry's inventive guitar solos and the flawless rhythm section of Chris Shaw and Matt Paetsch.
Shin Tower Music
9:15 p.m. Friday, Offramp Stage
Despite an earlier-than-usual end time, ComFest's first evening promises to close on a high note. Shin Tower made its major debut at ComFest last year, and the synth-heavy experimental group returns with a new member and more attention to the visual, artistic side of their shows. Expect them to blow it out for this year's closing slot.
Noon Saturday, Bozo Stage
The Bozo is a monstrous stage capable of swallowing up even the most imposing rock band, but the meek little indie-pop ensemble known as Super Desserts will come closest to collapsing the thing this weekend. The already dozen-strong lineup will be bolstered by a slew of guest performers and an auxiliary choir as they tackle tunes from the new "Twee As Folk."
1:30 p.m. Friday, Offramp Stage
The back-from-the-brink Columbus rock icon makes her ComFest comeback in a low-pressure, high-potential Friday afternoon timeslot.
Liquid Crystal Project
3:35 p.m. Friday, Jazz Stage
One of the great things about ComFest is you can stumble upon some dude who's programmed hit beats for Black Star and toured Europe with Ghostface Killah. That man would be J. Rawls, one of the most interesting producers in town. With Liquid Crystal Project, Rawls & Co. explore the realms of jazz-hop, which mixes the hard beats of hip-hop with the refined character of bop.
6:45 p.m. Friday, Offramp Stage
A Soviet ex-pat, a Jewish German-American and more combine for the sonic equivalent of World War II.
Main Street Gospel
12:55 p.m. Saturday, Bozo Stage
Having your debut seven-inch engineered by the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach means you're doing something right - probably something great. This throwback trio melds retro psychedelic rock and blues riffs to create classic masterpieces in a modern age.
Wild Goose Creative/The Peach District
2:30 p.m. & 3:15 p.m. Saturday, Offramp Stage
Two clusters of people dedicated to promoting creative expression get back-to-back sets on a stage where punk rock usually reigns. Let's hope they're entertaining enough to justify the surprising schedule choice.
5:30 p.m. Saturday, Offramp Stage
Brothers Casey and Jesse Cooper released one of 2009's best albums in "Length of Arms," a beautiful set polished like a skipping stone by a tide of synthesizers and their notorious note-perfection. It swam, cascaded, shimmered and barely let you come up for air. The brethren do a crack job of translating a complex sound to the stage and will invite local multi-instrumentalist Sean Gardner to fill out the jams this weekend. Expect a good thing to be even better.
Nick Tolford and Company
8:15 p.m. Saturday, Bozo Stage
You could consider Tolford & Co. the headliners for all of ComFest with their Saturday-night slot on the main stage. They'd surely deserve it. Tolford has a voice that's straight from a Stax Records' anthology, and his vintage soul act is ideal for a hot summer night in the park.
11:30 a.m. Sunday, Offramp Stage
Hebdo deserves better than a hangover set on a mismatched stage, but if anybody can make the best of it, it's this talented folk-pop troubadour.
Josh Krajcik Band
2 p.m. Sunday, Gazebo Stage
Krajcik applies his smoky croon to more than just retro soul and 12-bar blues; his songwriting nearly lives up to his formidable pipes.