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Taking sides: Which FreeFest non-headliner will steal the show?

Trombone Shorty is a FreeFest opener who's not to be missed.

We were pretty excited by the line-up for this year's Virgin Mobile FreeFest when promoters announced it earlier this week. Sure, M.I.A.'s new album is a clunker, but we're still confident that her live show can deliver a few earthquakes. We all know LCD Soundsystem can do no wrong. Pavement might not win any new converts, but are sure to please the old heads. And on a good day, there are few rappers more exciting to witness onstage than T.I.

But what about the undercard? For this week's Taking sides post, Click Track's contributors nominate the non-headliner they're most excited to see. Tell us which opener you're most excited about seeing in the comments. (And this time, we promise not to delete the post! A previous version of this entry vanished due to our clumsiness. Apologies.)

Chris Richards: In 2008, I saw California punk dudes No Age perform on a pedestrian bridge in Austin, Tex. in the teeny-tiniest hours of the morning. It was awesome. Since then, I've been drawn to bands performing in non-traditional spaces -- Bluebrain's sorta recent boombox orchestra walk comes to mind. That said, anyone tromping around the grounds of Merriweather Post Pavilion playing music sounds pretty cool to me -- and Trombone Shorty isn't just anyone. The New Orleans jazz newbie is expected to prove why he's one of the most buzzed-about rookies in his genre.

Allison Stewart: I'm picking Joan Jett because she's almost certainly the only person on this list who ever played Michael J. Fox's sister in a movie ("Light of Day") directed by the guy who wrote "Taxi Driver" (Paul Schrader), although I admit there could be others. She's generally awesome, still looks good in leather pants, and retains this vague aura of menace that, at 51, would be hard for anyone else to keep up. She's what Taylor Momsen wishes she was. And I really hate Taylor Momsen.

David Malitz: I'm going with Die Antwoord with the caveat that they may be more likely to make you say "What the [EXPLETIVE] was that?!?!" than to be a traditional show-stealer. The bizarreness factor should be off the charts -- vulgar, South Africa white-trash rave-rap -- and that alone should make them more memorable than most bands on the indie-centric bill. This review of their Coachella set leaves me hopeful that it might be memorable for some none novelty reasons, as well.

By Chris Richards  |  July 22, 2010; 5:17 PM ET
Categories:  Taking sides  | Tags: Die Antwoord, Joan Jett, Trombone Shorty  
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Trombone Shorty may be a "newbie" and a "rookie" compared to some, but this 24 year-old has been playing music since he was a kid (and on the Jazz Fest stages in New Orleans for many years, and on the DC Jazz fest stage on the mall in 2009) and five years ago toured as a member of Lenny Kravitz's band.

Posted by: outsider8 | July 23, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

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