If you nabbed passes to the Virgin Mobile FreeFest and are working out the logistics of selling the free, nontransferable tickets, I’d advocate just enjoying the Pu-Pu platter of talent even if exploiting a Gen-X Pavement fan not adept at social media may be fun. Plus you’ll miss a chance to enjoy M.I.A.’s street cred while it exists. Some festivals revel in their chill, positive vibes; others force veteran rappers to perform a ’90s masterwork sequentially, and most hide behind established branding banners. FreeFest programs like it’s playing fantasy football: draft the best names available. Joan Jett is famous. The Temper Trap is Australian. Thievery Corporation’s acid jazz, bossa nova and DJ fanfare enjoys hometown support and segues perfectly with Ludacris’ early stuff. T.I. is rap royalty and, more importantly, both hip-hop acts are responsible for roughly seven brilliant singles apiece. My top tier includes the quiet-storm romanticism of “Whatever You Like”; the primal rattle of “Southern Hospitality”; the orchestral coronation anthem that was “What You Know”; and the salivating-for-ass clamor of “Saturday.” My favorite Luda’ zinger is, “I’ll give you an $80 gift certificate to ‘Pussies-R-Us,’” and I love how convincingly T.I. threatens to snatch your Nikes. FreeFest’s front line lacks a centerpiece but there’s enough hearty sides to fill up on. Myriad hipster fodder drawn from Apple ads, South by Southwest day parties, and 8.7 high-court decisions from Pitchfork fills in the gaps. LCD Soundsystem is the most famous of this tier. James Murphy’s punk edge, commitment to thoughtful lyrics, and expansive roll call of musicians on stage explain why LCD perpetually outshines less interesting, bullshit electropop contemporaries. Matt and Kim’s eponymous 2006 album was a sparser, energetic breed of bullshit electropop that worked in bursts like “Yea Yeah,” with freewheeling abandon and sweetly nonsensical words like, “You stole tapes and a flash light on a summer night from my car.” A 2009 follow-up made its way to car commercials, so it may not be fair to call the Brooklyn duo a buzz act. No worries: Yeasayer and Sleigh Bells are very much Brooklyn buzz acts, and Neon Indian just moved to Brooklyn so we’ll count it. That trio fills fest quotas for noise pop, psychedelic pop, and chillwave. Expect blog bait like Neon Indian’s “Should Have Taken Acid With You” to resonate with onlooking millennials on acid or otherwise. Emo heroes Jimmy Eat World will likely spend their time tinkering with cuts from an upcoming LP, Invented, but they seem like humble enough guys to, say, indulge requests for the jittering strums of “Your New Aesthetic.” Indeed, a festival set list from earlier this year reveals handfuls of cuts from Clarity and Bleed American. For extra points, don that faded Mineral T-shirt and try to refrain from crying.
THE VIRGIN MOBILE FREEFEST TAKES PLACES 11 A.M. TO 10 P.M. ON SATURDAY, SEPT. 25, AT MERRIWEATHER POST PAVILLION, 10475 LITTLE PATUXENT PKWY., COLUMBIA, MD. $125 (FREE TICKETS NO LONGER AVAILABLE). (410) 715-5550.