A few picks to help jumpstart your weekend

There are many things to like about ComFest — fish boats, championing social causes, day drinking — but the onstage entertainment remains the main draw. Here are the Alive staff picks for the weekend's not-to-be-missed sets.

Friday

Into the Briar Patch

1:35 p.m. Friday, Off Ramp

Knowing that ComFest traditionally gets called due to rain, one wonders if organizers were giving a sly wink to the weather-driven floods that hit Goodale Park each year by booking this dark, moody trio, which is responsible for an album titled The Pleasures of Drowning. But even if the sun somehow makes a brief appearance on Friday afternoon, expect Into the Briar Patch's set to exude crypt darkness. Though acoustic, the band's songs are enviably weighty, particularly the blackened soil of “Life in Graves” and the epic, droning “Fuck Everything that Moves,” a seething number built on a rage that doesn't flare up, but rather burns like white coals. –Andy Downing

Dr. Danga Grimaldi Circus

7:05 p.m. Friday, Live Arts

It's the first night of ComFest and you can't decide if you want to check out some dance, performance art, poetry or something with a genuine sideshow feel. And you're wavering on tone, too — between lighthearted and comedic, or something a little edgy with social commentary. No need to choose, people. Dr. Danga Grimaldi has all of these bases covered. Founder Eoin O'Brien is a third-generation circus performer who believes these acts are more than stunts, but rather avenues for expression and communication. –Jim Fischer

The 3rd Power

7:20 p.m. Friday, Off Ramp

“I've always been guilty of making my friends rap,” Columbus producer, singer and MC Rashad told Alive recently. Thank goodness for that guilt, because without it we may not have the 3rd Power, a Columbus rap group featuring Rashad, Blaksmif and brothers Co City and P.A. Flex. The friends share a history that goes back to their middle school days on the East Side, and this year we were gifted with the rap crew's first release in years, Attack of the Drum (Act 1). The five tracks show the 3rd Power hasn't missed a beat (expect more EPs to follow soon). –Joel Oliphint

Columbus Burlesque Collective

9:20 p.m. Friday, Live Arts

The city's burlesque scene is growing so quickly it needed a collective. Otherwise, billed separately, the performers could fill up all of a day's timeslots on any given stage. The most important things to know about the collective? It's all about love and there is no hierarchy. Mannie Goodtimes and Krista Kitty are just two of the personalities making an appearance. But be sure to keep supporting the community throughout the year at venues such as Bossy Grrls, Ace of Cups and the Shrunken Head, among others. –Erica Thompson

Saturday

Fadhel Kaboub

3 p.m. Saturday, Peace & Healing Pavilion

A professor of International Studies and Economics at Denison University, and President of the Binzagr Institute for Sustainable Prosperity, Dr. Kaboub researches and speaks on issues including full employment and financial sovereignty. Chances are this talk will include advocacy for policies including living wage vs. minimum wage, job guarantee, forgiving student debt, renewable energy, single-payer healthcare and empowered banking solutions at the local level. Econ, ComFest-style. (He's a great follow on Twitter, too: @FadhelKaboub.) –JF

Darrio Lamont

5 p.m. Saturday, Bozo

Trek Manifest

5:45 p.m. Saturday, Bozo

Last year at ComFest, rapper Sheron “Nes Wordz” Colbert delivered what would turn out to be his final performance — he died just days later. This year, a handful of Nes' running mates have picked up the torch, returning to Goodale Park for what is sure to be an emotional series of performances. First up is Darrio Lamont, a boisterous, heart-on-his sleeve rapper who matches the emotion in his voice with the personal detail in his songs on his latest, Sunsets on Bartlett. Trek Manifest maintains a more even-keeled presence, but his verses are no less revealing on This Should Hold You. –AD

Hugs and Kisses

5:45 p.m. Saturday, Live Arts

One way to understand Hugs & Kisses is to get inside the mind of musician and visual artist Donny Monaco via his YouTube channel. Recent minute-long cartoon dramas include an elderly cyborg undergoing a prostate exam and imprisoned dogs watching guards made out of pizza and cheeseburgers eat each other. When Monaco partners with musician/producer/galaxy-hopper Jacoti Sommes, the two (and often others) engage in a brand of performance art that has no comparison in Columbus, or really anywhere. It's silly, subversive and usually more than a little profane, and you will inevitably end up talking about it for the rest of ComFest weekend. –JO

Parker Louis

8:55 p.m. Saturday, Bozo

In a recent interview, singer/guitarist Parker Louis cited Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder and D'Angelo as just a few sources of inspiration. If you're a fan of those pillars of soul, you'll likely enjoy the vibe of Louis' excellent debut EP, All Good Things, Pt. One. If you've been fortunate enough to hear Louis' velvet vocals and emotive guitar solos as part of his former band, Forest & the Evergreens, or supporting artists like T. Wong and Doc Robinson, you're probably already a fan. If not, do yourself a favor and stop by ComFest to witness this local gem. And stay tuned for the forthcoming All Good Things, Pt. Two. –ET

Sunday

Anna & the Consequences

3:30 p.m. Sunday, I Wish You Jazz

From Tin Pan Alley to acoustic blues to jazz to torch songs, local siren Anna Paolucci and her bandmates offer a swing-filled experience that's savory and satisfying. The Consequences purposefully have eschewed using non-acoustic instrumentation, highlighting the tones and textures of old-time strings in support of the human voice. Vintage jazz on a ComFest Sunday afternoon. –JF

Kashis Keyz

5:10 p.m. Sunday, Off Ramp

On songs like “Baritone,” the Columbus-born MC flashes a warm, conversational flow, delivering photorealistic details atop hazy, atmospheric beats that often run counter to the sharpness of his words. Best of all might be “Broke Crayons,” where the rapper refuses to give in even as outside forces threaten his resolve. “Broke crayons still color,” he repeats, sounding battered but far from defeated. There are certainly worse mantras one could adopt in this day and age. –AD

Jae Esquire and the Last Outside Generation

5:45 p.m. Sunday, Bozo

Jae Esquire's talents are many. You might see her behind a keyboard or spitting rhymes on a mic. She's had a residency at Bossy Grrls, and she just performed in an improv comedy show at CA Backspace. For this ComFest set, billed with the “Last Outside Generation,” Esquire promises “a journey in hip-hop” with spoken-word, jazz and grooves. However that pans out, with Esquire in charge, it's bound to be a good time. –JO

George Barrie Band

7 p.m., Saturday, Gazebo

It's been almost three years since singer/guitarist George Barrie ventured out on his own. What followed is a self-titled EP and full-length album, Keep Dreaming, comprised of music Barrie once defined as “groovy rock 'n' roll.” ComFest is the perfect platform for the musician, who has spent years lending his talents to other artists in the music community; he remains a staple of neo-funk group MojoFlo, and recently shined onstage with soul artist T. Wong at Skully's. So give him some of that love back on Sunday at the Gazebo. –ET