Freedom Rock

J. Freedom du Lac
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 7, 2007; 2:00 PM

Washington Post music critic J. Freedom du Lac is online every Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET to talk about the latest on the music scene: alternative, country, alt-country, pop, hyphy, harp-rock, reggae, reggaeton, R and B and whatever it is that Dan Deacon does.

The transcript follows.

____________________ Virgin Festival Blog

_______________________ Gimme Swelter; At the Virgin Festival in Baltimore, Rock Hot Enough to Fry an Ear

_______________________ Virgin Festival, Day 2: Morsels for All Tastes


J. Freedom du Lac: So, Producer David and I had a quiet, relaxing weekend. How 'bout you?

Fourty-four blog posts, 80-something dead-tree column-inches and one absolutely classic published correction later ... we're ready for more. (More Virgin Festival talk, anyway; not more Girl Talk corrections.)

If you went to V-Fest, who and what did you love? Who/what did you hate?

If you didn't go ... why not?

As noted in our blog (and the dead-tree product that followed), attendance for the weekend was 74,000. Pimlico could have accomodated 120,000 over the festival's two days. In today's Baltimore Sun, Sam Sessa reports that the U.S. V-Fest folks are pleased, though it's unclear whether they'll actually turn a profit. ("If not, it's close," promoter Seth Hurwitz told the Sun.)

Seth says he's hoping for V-Fest 3.0 next year. Are you?

Let's roll.


Columbia, Md.: So who else lost their crush on Amy Winehouse when they saw her at Virgin Fest? I mean the whole nervousness was kinda cute but the skeleton physique ruined it all for me.

J. Freedom du Lac: Did it really take you this long to notice that the woman is little more than (inked-up) skin, bones and a rat's-nest hairdo? Surely you'd seen the pictures.

Anyway, I really wasn't expecting a great performance given what I'd seen of her on TV and YouTube. Doesn't mean I wasn't *hoping* for greatness.

For what it's worth, I thought her band sounded good. And she was in fine voice. Just didn't sell the songs, especially not in the front half of the set.


Silver Spring, Md.: Hi there,

I had a great time both days at v-fest. For me, the funniest moment came at the end of Wu Tang's set where they thanked VERIZON for putting on the festival...while Richard Branson was next to the stage watching their show. Oops!

J. Freedom du Lac: I'm guessing Sir Branson did NOT offer a hot-air-balloon ride to any of the Wu-Tang guys after that.

But hey, I'd like to thank Verizon, too! Without the Verizon-powered BlackBerry and the Verizon air card for my laptop, I would have been stuck filing by courier pigeon or smoke-signal or something. Especially since the wi-fi in the media tent kept cutting out.


Virgin Festival: I was there on Saturday. Loved the shows, hated how unorganized it was. The VIP area (the one with a/c) ran out of all non-alcoholic beverages by 4pm, no one who worked the event knew where anything was, and it took us over an hour to get out of the "VIP" parking area. One of my friends fainted from the heat and the person in the medical tent didn't even know how to check blood pressure. The medical tent had run out of ice and was a general mess. Complaints aside, Cheap Trick, the Beastie Boys and Incubus rocked! So did Sasha & Digweed. It was so hot I couldn't bring myself to travel between stages too often. I guess I'm getting too old for these festivals, although if it were 10 degrees cooler it would have been perfect. And boo to the drunk guy who puked on my feet!

J. Freedom du Lac: Interesting take.

I didn't spend any time in the VIP area, nor did I get anywhere near air conditioning. Nor did I drink, save for about 30 gallons of water. I didn't pass out, either (maybe because I didn't drink?).

Of course, I also didn't pay $400-plus for a two-day VIP pass.

I thought the Beasties were quite good. Cheap Trick made my Top 3 for the weekend (along with M.I.A. and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs). I didn't hear much of Incubus, and I completely mised Sasha and Digweed, but Producer David caught the former and liked 'em.

Bummer about the guy barfing on your feet. That wasn't Amy Winehouse's husband, was it?


Woodley Park, Washington, D.C.: Is it true that modesty is coming back into style for the girls? If so, that's so sad. The terrorists have already won.

J. Freedom du Lac: Based on what I saw over the weekend from Karen O, M.I.A., Amy Winehouse and Lovefoxxx (from CSS) -- as well as all those festivalgoers wearing skimpy bikinis (and, in the case of the woman on the riser next to Velvet Revolver's stage, no top at all) ... I'd have to say no.


Washington, D.C.: Are you planning to go to the Muse show Thursday? I know you've said you're a fan of the Cold War Kids, and Muse are considered to be one of the best live bands from the UK. I can vouch for their being a good live show. I know they're most known for their bombastic 6-minute long epics, but my favorite performance moment from them was in fall 2004 when they played the 9:30 club. In the middle of the set, they played "Ruled by Secrecy", which starts for a moment or so with just Matt Bellamy singing barely above a whisper and playing a soft piano line. The sold-out crowd became utterly silent, straining to hear the performance. I didn't realize how quiet it was until someone dropped a cup and it seemed to echo in the club. Anyway, that song hadn't stood out to me on the album, but the performance that night made it seem truly haunting and it became one of my favorites.

J. Freedom du Lac: I am *not* planning to see Muse with the Cold War Kids this week. But it's not because it's Restaurant Week in D.C. and I'd rather dine out than rock out. Nor is it because I want to play in the poker game in [city name redacted] that night.

It's because I've gotta review the Beyonce spectacle that night at [Insert Wu-Tang Clan's Favorite Telcom Company Name Here] Center.

Avengers fan Chris Klimek will be reviewing Muse.

One of these days, I *will* see Muse live. Promise. (Unless they break up before they come back through D.C.)


Rockville, Md.: Which Virgin Festival had the better line-up? 2006 or 2007? And which day was better in 2007? 1 or 2? I vouch for 2006.


J. Freedom du Lac: I think there were more good band this year. But there was also an extra day. So it's sort of like comparing Ben Davis apples to crabapples.


Laurel, Md.: Any chance Virgin Fest goes back to a one-day event? I'm not sure I liked this two-day structure...It just seemed like a better chance for the promoters and sponsors to make money, not create a more comprehensive music festival. If I did not already plunk almost $200 for the two-day pass, I would not have come back for Sunday. I probably won't bother next year if they're going to split the bill again.

J. Freedom du Lac: I'm sure there's a chance that they'll do that, just as there's a chance that Seth and Donna and Co. might expand the festival to three days. I mean, what if they booked a three-day festival featuring a half-dozen bands per day from your personal-favorites list, plus a bunch of other acts that you were keenly interested in seeing? And they did it when the heat index wasn't blasting past 100? You might go, right?


Arlington, Va.: The Police are doing a fall tour of northeast cities in late Oct.--mid Nov. Any chance they are coming to DC?

J. Freedom du Lac: There are whispers that they'll be back here in November.


Silver Spring, Md.: I was surprised to see that David Malitz, and Spoon itself, seem to be somewhat down on Spoon's performance at the Virgin Fest. Although there was some early sound problems, I thought it was pretty good. Any idea, though, why Spoon doesn't play some of their better known songs like "Sister Jack?" I saw them at Sonar in April, and they didn't play it there, either. David here. It wasn't a bad performance, but it certainly wasn't anything too special, as Britt confirmed after the fact. I don't think they phoned it in like Winehouse, it just wasn't really clicking. Not sure why they don't like to play "Sister Jack," but that song doesn't really fit in with what they do these days. It was the "token rocker" for that album, kind of like "Jonathon Fisk" on the album before it.


Jacksonville, N.Y.: So I went on down to my local record store and had a listen to that new Miranda Lambert CD before buying. All I have to say is, are you on crack? That was some of the cheesiest-pop country I've ever heard, I don't care how well-crafted the lyrics might be.

J. Freedom du Lac: Pop-country? Miranda Lambert? I think you're the one who needs to stop hanging around with Pete Doherty, my friend.


Chicago, Ill.: Interesting that so many acts appeared at both Virgin Fest and Lollapalooza - perhaps that's why some were unimpressive?

J. Freedom du Lac: Dunno -- I think the Yeah Yeah Yeahs played both festivals, and they were pretty great at Pimlico. Regina Spektor also doubled up, and I liked her quite a bit at V-Fest.


Leesburg, Va.: Have you had a chance to listen to the new Josh Ritter CD? I heard the latest single on Pitchfork last week, and I wasn't impressed. Please tell me the rest of the CD is better.

J. Freedom du Lac: The rest of the CD is better.

(Is the single the one that sounds like a Highway 61 outtake? "To the Dogs or Whoever"? I actually do like that song, but it's far from my favorite.)


Silver Spring, Md.: So what was the absolutely classic Girl Talk correction?

J. Freedom du Lac: Click on the Day 2 story at the top of This Very Chat and you'll see the correction stripped across the top.

For those keeping score at home (and at Girl Talk's booking agency -- hi, Sam!), the mistake was mine. I can't type to begin with, and I'm particularly messy on deadline.


Va. Beach, Va.: Thanks for the V fest Blog! It was almost like being there! I couldn't go myself because my ex will hit me with a summons for delinquent child support if I step into the state of Maryland.

J. Freedom du Lac: Thanks for living vicariously through us. We Blog So You Don't Have To Avoid Your Ex. Or something.


Random question: I was just curious, with all the concerts that you attend, do you ever worry about permanently damaging your hearing? Do you take ear plugs with you or ear monitors?

Should the Post be paying a little extra "hazard pay"?

J. Freedom du Lac: I bring earplugs with me, but I don't wear them enough. Like, I really should have put them in during Explosions in the Sky, especially since I was standing pretty close to the stage. But it's hard to scribble in a notebook and type on a BlackBerry and respond to text messages on the cell and drink water while also putting earplugs in. I ran out of arms.


Virgin Festival: Is it just me or were the Smashing Pumpkins awful!? I left after three songs and went to see 311's set instead. Sure, 311's set was basically a rundown of all their greatest hits, but at least they got the crowd going and looked like they were having -fun- on the stage! I'd take Nick Hexum over Billy Corgan any day of the week!

J. Freedom du Lac: Producer David -- noted Smashing Pumpkins basher, at least when they played at the 9:30 club -- wrote somewhat favorably about the band's set at V-Fest. (It's one of the most recent posts on the blog, linked at the top of this chat.) I was filing an update for the dead-tree story in the media tent when the Pumpkins came on and went immediately to the dance tent for M.I.A. when I was done. So I didn't really catch much of the SP set, save for what I heard as I was trekking across the infield. I'd take M.I.A. over Nick Hexum and Billy Corgan.


Brookeville, Md.: I really enjoyed the Virgin Festival both years, and certainly hope the disappointing attendance figures do not prevent a repeat in 2008. I think the biggest problem was having it on the same weekend as Lollapalooza - I'm sure it would have drawn more festival fans otherwise. You'd think these national festivals could coordinate among themselves to avoid such conflicts. It also seemed a bit aggressive to increase it to two days in year two. I sure hope Virgin will give us another festival in 2008!

P.S. - on day 2, my favorites were the YYY's, CSS, VR, and I was surprised how much I enjoyed Matisyahu. The Pumpkins were fun too but I (and I think many of us) were quite burned out from the long day by then.

J. Freedom du Lac: One vote for V-Fest 3.0.

I, too, thought CSS was a blast.

Is there a festival in the world that Matisyahu won't play?


Vienna, Va.: Contrary to the Miranda Lambert detractor, I enjoyed the few listens I gave to her latest CD. I'm almost on the bandwagon.

But, in the meantime, I've been listening to her previous CD, "Kerosene," and ya know what? It's pretty dang good! So much so that I can't remember WHY the more recent album is being universally acclaimed, and this earlier one wasn't.

Is there a qualitative difference between the two CDs, or did the first disc put critics on notice for the second, which, once heard, resulted in the loud hosannas from all quarters?

J. Freedom du Lac: The writing is stronger overall on the new album. The music and vocals have more teeth, too.

"Kerosene" did have its share of critical support, though. And I put the title track on my year-end singles list.


You love this word: Bacchanalia.

J. Freedom du Lac: I do. And I'm planning to use it every time I write about Virgin Festival.


V-Fest 3.0: And for crying out loud, put it back in September. Who needs to sweat that much?

J. Freedom du Lac: Yes.


Baltimore, Md.:"Is there a festival in the world that Matisyahu won't play?"

Any one that only takes place on a Saturday.

He was awesome, and probably outshined just about EVERY artist I saw on Sunday.

J. Freedom du Lac: Boom-tsk!

Thank you very much. Be here all weekend. Try the fried dough!

(Why in the world were they selling fried dough on a 99-degree day, or whatever it was? Gross.)

Neither David nor I saw Matisyahu. I'd intended to get over to the second stage for part of his set but I was ... um ... I can't remember what I was doing. Not watching him, I guess.


Washington, D.C.: Sept. 6, Merriweather, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Ray Price. My 78-year-old Mom wants me to take her. Go, or watch Seinfeld reruns?

J. Freedom du Lac: You must go to this. Three Country Hall of Famers, together on one stage. Go!

Willie, by the way, counts Ray Price among his musical heroes. And not only because one of his first gigs was playing in Ray's old band.


Bowie, Md.: Just kudos to the headline writers ... "Gimme Swelter" is brilliant. Seriously.

J. Freedom du Lac: Yes, yes, yes!!!! A most inspired headline.

All praise to Yonette Joseph, who - I'm told - came up with that.


Re: Josh Ritter: The song was Thin Blue Flame.

Also, Josh is playing in Charlottesville opening for John Prime. I've never listened to John Prime in my life. Is it worth taking a trip to Charlottesville see see Josh Ritter as an opening act?

J. Freedom du Lac: Errr.... that was from "The Animal Years." Last year's Josh Ritter album.

You should go to that John Prine-Josh Ritter show to see them both. Prine is a great writer with a wicked sense of humor. Do yourself a favor and get to know his music.

If you're not up for it, though, Ritter is coming to the 9:30 club this fall.


Falls Church, Va.: re: Amy Winehouse

She didn't always look that way.

J. Freedom du Lac: They tried to make her eat a meal. She said: No, no, no.

It's kind of sad, no?


Clarksville, Md.: Why all the fuss about the Yeah Yeah Yeahs? So the singer wears costumes, makes funny noises and dances around the stage. Haven't we seen this many times before? I came away from their Virgin Fest performance wishing they would take some classes on how to develop a melody.

J. Freedom du Lac: You want melody? Go to a Celine Dion or Elton John show. That's not what the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are about.

The fuss is about the sheer intensity of those spiky, shadowy songs and performances that are both manic (see: O., Karen and Nick Zimmer's howling guitar lines) and measured (Brian Chase's precision drumming). They make glorious, arty noise. It's not for everyone, but it's not intended to be mass-appeal in the first place.

As for having seen this many times before ... yeah, sure, I guess you could confuse Karen O for, like, Insane Clown Posse. But only if you're an idiot.


Brookeville, Md.: How close were you to the stage during VR? Unless there were two of them, you got the flasher's location wrong - she was sitting on a guy's shoulders in the crowd in front of the stage (a bit to the side of the stage). I was just a few feet away with a great view.

J. Freedom du Lac: There were two, then. Or, I guess, four, depending on what we're talking about here. The flasher I saw was on the stage-right riser. Rock 'n' roll.


Washington, D.C.: So what did you think of the Police? I thought they were great and looked like they actually enjoyed being on stage with each other. I'm impressed Sting can still hit the high notes on songs like So Lonely. And Andy Summers was on fire that night.

I was reading another board where people said they thought the Police were boring. That definitely wasn't my impression.

J. Freedom du Lac: Might I suggest that you read our blog and/or our first-day story in which my opinions on the performance by the Police are made clear? Crazy idea, I know.


Silver Spring, Md. again: Okay, that's the funniest typo I've seen in ages. Thanks for making me laugh in the cubicle. (If you're still looking for a new blog name, I think it'd be perfect...)

On to actual music, have you heard the new Okkervil River? I got it a few days ago and it gets better with each listen and has finally knocked Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga out of my CD player.

J. Freedom du Lac: What would be a good name for the blog? One-Trick Phony? Or Thanks For Making Me Laugh In The Cubicle?

Freedom Rock's stage mom suggested Blogjam, which I kinda liked until I discovered that there's already a blog by that name. We totally could have done official Blogjam hacky sacks and tie-dye shirts.


Re: Overlap w/Lollapalooza: That might explain Spoon's lousy performance. They were on in Chicago pretty late on Saturday -- I was able to catch them live on XM while driving home from Pimlico (and I thought they were good) -- so that's got to be brutal.

I just wish Muse had been at both. I didn't even get to hear them on XM, as planned. (Apparently, they were unhappy with their performance, so XM couldn't air it.)

J. Freedom du Lac: Day game after a night game? They're young. They should be able to suck it up. I mean, they're not Barry Bonds for chrissakes.


Washington, D.C.: Alright J-Free, defend your girl Amy Winehouse and her phoned-in performance at V-Fest. I think she would have been more entertaining if she had not shown up. Why does this diva have any fans?

J. Freedom du Lac: Nothing defensible about it. She more or less text-messaged that one in. There were a few moments during the second half of the set where I thought it worked. But mostly? Meh.

Doesn't make the album any less marvelous, though.

And yeah, it might have been more entertaining to hear the announcement that she was a no-show. Before the festival, I was riding around in Seth's golf cart when I *thought* I overheard him asking somebody on the phone whether Amy was actually going to show up.

Wonder if/when she'll return.


Richmond, Va.: A coupla weeks ago, you asked if you were wrong to like Jenny Lewis more than Neko Case. It is after much consideration (and with no small amount of regret) that I must inform you that you are wrong. Very, very wrong. You're an idiot.

Have a nice day.

J. Freedom du Lac: One vote for Neko Case -- and one vote, too, for This Chat's Host Is An Idiot.


Washington, D.C.: Pencil-in Nov. 11-12 for Bruce & the ESB at (Insert Wu-Tang Clan's Favorite Telecom Company Name Here) Center. Hot-cha!!

J. Freedom du Lac: Oh?


Olney, Md.: V-Fest in August heat - the Police are totally to blame for this, right?

J. Freedom du Lac: I do think that this year's festival was built around the open date on their tour, yes. So long as the Talking Heads don't reunite next year and demand to play V-Fest 3.0 in August, I'd have to think that there's a decent chance the date moves back.


Washington, D.C.: Bettye Lavette

October 31

Barns of Wolftrap

How cool is that?

J. Freedom du Lac: That's very, very cool. The new album, with Drive-By Truckers working as the back-up band, is yummy.


Rockville, Md.: If you move V-Fest back to September, though, don't put it on Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur or you'll FINALLY find a show that Matisyahu won't play...

J. Freedom du Lac: Great point! And yes, you're right -- no way Matis would have played last year's V-Fest. None. You win today's door prize.


Re Re Josh Ritter: My bad, the song was Rumors. After a second listen, I'm starting to like the song a bit more.

J. Freedom du Lac:"Next to the Last Romantic." JR's latest classic tune.


Glen Ellyn, Ill.: DC's dreaming about Bruce, I think, as his Web site sez he's in London with the Sessions band on those dates.

J. Freedom du Lac: Oh.


Washington, D.C.: Virgin Fest Follow UP:

I was surprised you found The Police so exciting. I was totally fired up for them, but then found them so lackluster and down tempo I voted with my feet and headed over to Modest Mouse, who not only were performing, but were actually entertaining the crowd as well. It flies in the face of why the song was written that "Every Little Things She Does Is Magic" should be so languid performed live. Every time The Police shifted from verse to chorus, as I was disappointed by the attendant lack of energy. They should have taken a page from Cheap Trick--those guys haven't lost a step in 30 years.

J. Freedom du Lac: I really felt like they were playing with purpose on Saturday. It's true that they've slowed down some (and jazzed-up and stretched out many of the arrangements), but I thought there was a very palplable energy to the set that was missing during their truncated Live Earth show.

Having said that -- yeah, Cheap Trick. Wow!


Boston, Mass.: Interesting that you found Andy the best part of The Police's show. At Fenway, last Sunday, he was definitely not. I'm not sure if it was some weird sound problem, but his guitar solos sounded like crap. There was way too much reverb and they sounded off-key and just generally out of whack. That said, I thought the show, in general, was awesome. Stuart was great, and I am amazed at the fact that Sting appears to have stopped aging some time around 1995. For a Police fan, I was happy when I left. They played everything I wanted to hear. Sounded awesome. And Fenway is just a really cool place to watch a concert.

J. Freedom du Lac: Mr. Copeland was pretty great at Pimlico, too. (How many arms does that guy have, anyway?) But Andy Summers was lights-out.


It could happen: Tell Glen Ellyn that those dates were for 2006.

J. Freedom du Lac: Oh!


Washington, D.C.: What, nothing to say about TV on the Radio--or did I miss your coverage? They were the best thing I saw Saturday! Thoughts?

J. Freedom du Lac: We didn't cover them. I think I was on deadline in the media tent, trying not to insert typos into our dead-tree story, while David was --- not sure what he was watching. But not them. Was Sasha and Digweed at the same time?


V fest and stuff: Personally, I loved the show. I thought Sunday overall was stronger than Saturday. The headliners were probably better on Saturday with the Beasties and the Police, but I think Sunday overall had a stronger group of bands playing. The second stage on Sunday was nuts from Bad Brains on. The Police still take the crown for best act of the fest though. That was a great set they played, even if they didn't do too much with the lighting rig.

More serious question, if you and Dave know that you don't like a band, The Pumpkins or Joy Patrol, why not try and find some people on the Post staff who do have more of an appreciation for them? One wouldn't send a metal head to cover a Britney Spears show, so why send someone who very obviously does not like a band to cover them?

J. Freedom du Lac: Wouldn't it be kind of boring if all we ever did was publish effusive reviews from fanboys?

It's not true, by the way, that David doesn't like the Smashing Pumpkins. As I said here after we published his savage take-down of their 9:30 club show -- the guy loved "Mellon Collie" when it came out and really lived with those songs. He's a fan. He just doesn't like the new album and didn't care for the way the show at the 9:30 club came off. But he was generally positive about the V-Fest show on the blog. Look it up.


Trick Rox: I caught Cheap Trick at a Fort Myers block party about five years ago -- five bucks and you stand in front of the stage.

My ears are still ringing.

J. Freedom du Lac: I done good by not standing near the front of the stage for their set at Pimlico. I guess I learned by covered their (VERY LOUD) "Live at Budokan" anniversary show at the Fillmore. It must've been 1998, the 20th anniversary.


Washington, D.C.: Re Willie, Merle and Ray at Merriwether: If the guy who wrote really wants to treat his 78 year old mom right, he can also spring for the DVD called Last of the Breed. It's a recording of the aforementioned legends in concert, aided by Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel. Maryland Public Television showed it last weekend as part of their never ending fund-raising drive. (Hey, at least they have something new--those old folksinger reunions shows were getting a little tiresome. And I'm an old folksinger!)

J. Freedom du Lac: More county-legends love.


Beyonce Show:"Nor is it because I want to play in the poker game in -city name redacted] that night."

I'm sure if you ask nice enough, folks at the poker game will sing some Beyonce for you.

J. Freedom du Lac: I don't think I'm ready for that jelly.


Washington, D.C.: I didn't attend VF because I didn't feel compelled to spend that much money and drive that far just to sweat, be puked on and felt up by drunk strangers. Plus, I'm not an Amy Winehouse fan, and some of the other performers, like Smashing Pumpkins are best remembered on my non-iPod mp3 player than in front of me.

J. Freedom du Lac: One vote for not getting felt up by drunk strangers.

Should I be insulted, by the way, that I wasn't felt up by any strangers, drunk or otherwise? I also wasn't asked at any point whether I had rolling papers. Whereas a certain colleague of mine was.


Chattanooga, Tenn.: You always worry worry worry that Amy Winehouse will beat you up if you do this or that.

I don't think Amy Winehouse is going to be beating ANYONE any time soon.

J. Freedom du Lac: When Teresa Wiltz interviewed Amy for that WAY-ahead-of-the-U.S.-curve feature on Amy at the start of this year, Miz Winehouse beat herself up. She was sitting in the makeup chair, slapping her own face for some reason.


Clarksville, Md.: Back to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (or in my case, the No No Nos). I'll accept your defense, although I don't agree with it (precision drumming? Bah!). But please don't mention Celine Dion in my presence again. That's hitting below the belt.

J. Freedom du Lac: You say melody, I say Celine. Or, I guess, I say Diane Warren. But yeah.


Drumaville: Blog Title: "Effusive Reviews from Fanboys"

J. Freedom du Lac: No Producer David T-shirt for you.


Richmond, Va.: Hey - do you think next year's Virgin Festival will be held in the fall? I found it difficult to concentrate on the music because it was so hot on Saturday. That said, the Beastie Boys were the most enjoyable act I saw. The Police were great, but by that point, I was exhausted, so I don't think I appreciated them fully. What was your favorite moment on Saturday?

J. Freedom du Lac: Favorite moment? Probably when I got to my hotel room and took a shower. I must've been wearing about 10 pounds of dirt.


Hasidicland, N.Y.: Not sure why everyone hates on Matisyahu. There was the hype and everyone gravitated. Then, everyone claimed overhype and fled. When all the dust settled, he's still a particularly great performer even if his albums tend to get a bit repetitive (not to say they're total duds... "Jerusalem" off his last album was particularly awesome). So what's the hate about? Is it the subject matter? I tend to not care where the inspiration comes from, as long as it's there (provided it's not something radical like neo-nazi hate anthems or something). I'm not Jewish, but his passion for what he sings about is as compelling as the passion visible in gospel or even a punk singing about anarchy. The passion of the Matis is on.

J. Freedom du Lac: I thought Matis was good when he jumped on stage at the Roots' pre-Grammy jam in L.A. No hating. I just think it's interesting that he shows up at pretty much every festival on the planet, is all.


Apologies to Producer David...: I didn't mean that as an attack on him. I guess he was rather disappointed with the new album. I thought the songs that the Pumpkins played on Sunday were fairly strong even with the sound volume being turned down a bit more than I expected. I was more wondering why, as a policy, the Post doesn't ask around the news room if there is anyone who would really want to do a review of a band in concert. I don't mean that they should replace you guys or that you do a bad job, but there are times when it shows that you really don't care for a band at all and I think it's a little bit unfair to a band to be reviewed by someone who just plain does not like them.

J. Freedom du Lac: Maybe next time the Pumpkins come through, I should ask Wilbon to review them.


Polyphonic Spree: I caught a couple of minutes of their Austin City Limit appearance, having never seen nor heard them before.

What a bunch of weirdos !

J. Freedom du Lac: They are known for that, yes.


Washington, D.C.: I enjoyed Paul Simon's album "One Trick Phony," he was writing about Garfunkel

J. Freedom du Lac: Thank you.


Brookeville, Md.: Maybe there were problems on day 1 which were fixed by day 2 (or maybe light attendance helped), but I think V-Fest was incredibly well run for a festival. I never had a line for bathroom or drinks, very brief line for food and plenty of good options, plenty of shady tents to cool off, people sorting and picking up trash promptly, and I even took advantage of the bicycle rickshaws to get between stages quickly a couple times.

I guess I only miss HFStival's way of avoiding band conflicts via two alternating stages. I would have enjoyed seeing 311 and Interpol (though your reviews make me think I didn't miss much with the latter) but I was stuck elsewhere. I would have been especially annoyed if I was there on day 1 having to choose between the Police and Modest Mouse. But I know the tradeoff with HFStivals's approach is shorter sets.

Thanks also for the blogs!

J. Freedom du Lac: One vote for the way the festival was run.

Some people think there aren't enough conflicts at V-Fest. That's to say, there aren't enough bands playing at any given point. Because if you don't like what's happening on the main stage and there's a set change on the second stage and you don't care about dance music -- well, it's to the batting cages or bust.


To the Virginia Beach %&@#: Maybe you could send your ex-wife that $200 you would have spent on Virgin Fest tickets to, I don't know, FEED AND CLOTHE YOUR KIDS?

J. Freedom du Lac: One vote for "manning up" (as Scott Weiland likes to say).


Re: Jenny vs Neko: When you say "like better" what do you mean? Just on their voice or on other aspects?

J. Freedom du Lac: Yes.


Columbia, Md.: I enjoyed the Police but hated the obnoxious Sting super fans all around me. Especially the woman directly in front of me who continually took photos of Sting on the big screen! So every 10 seconds I get my view blocked by a woman who feels compelled to takes photos of the big screen. I just don't get it...

J. Freedom du Lac: As somebody who once recorded a lousy cell-phone video of the big-screen image of Nancy Pelosi dancing with Wyclef Jean -- I sort of get why they were doing that. Though in my case, I had an excuse (a lame attempt at multi-platform journalism).


Festiv, AL: Decided to give the Virgin one a miss this year and went to Lollapalooza instead. Lots to report, but I'll limit to three - (1) Location - fantastic, (2) Iggy - awesome, (3) Daft Punk - at the time, and in the "mood" joyous to behold. On reflection they could have got a couple of guys from the local day laborer site, given them a helmet an CD each and told them to get on top of this pyramid and nod your head for a couple of hours. Any problems, call me in my fabulous 16th arrondissement apartment. What say you?

J. Freedom du Lac: Thanks for this report. We should have had you blogging from Chicago.


Pimlico, Md.: I gather I'm in the minority on this, but I thought The Police's set at V-Fest was lame. I'm not just busting on them because they were the biggest act there; they were the act, more than any other, that persuaded me to buy the ticket. And I gotta say the Beastie Boys -- who were never a favorite of mine in their heyday -- walked all over Sting & Co.

Andy Summers is a great guitar player, and it's wonderful that Sting is being nicer about sharing the spotlight this time around, but letting Andy noodle endlessly is not a good thing. "Driven to Tears" felt like it was half an hour long, and on "de Do Do Do," I'm pretty sure Sting and Andy were playing in two different keys.

It actually seemed to me that the versions of Police songs Sting played on his 90s solo tours, with Dominic (sp?) Miller on guitar rocked harder than what we got Saturday night. The extra-bonus encore of "Next to You" should have been great, but they played it at, like, one-third tempo! It ain't a ballad fellas! Let's rock!

J. Freedom du Lac: You say noodling endlessly; I say superlative lyrical solos.


Washington, D.C.: Allison Krauss/Robert Plant collaboration: trainwreck or good move? Her voice is amazing, but I wonder if the old man has it in him anymore!

J. Freedom du Lac: Can't judge it until we hear it. It really has potential to go either way, doesn't it?


Baltimore, Md.: I saw a photo of Sir Richard Branson at V-Fest. Not sure if it was in the Post or the Baltimore Sun, but it looked like he was standing next to some sort of equipment tower with a bunch of regular folks. Can this possibly be true? Did the brash billionaire mingle?

J. Freedom du Lac: When I caught up with Branson for the blog, he was walking across the infield, through the hoi polloi. He was trailing a publicist, with an ABC Newser (Kate Snow?) and one other person in tow. Lots of triple takes and high fives along the way. He had a very specific destination: The VIP riser in the middle of the field.


Neko vs. Jenny: Wrong, Neko wins for voice, Jenny for looks. However, I'd like to see Jenny in a rival New Pornographers. Maybe they would be called the Old Moralists. It would be Jenny Lewis, James Mercer from the Shins, and John Darnielle from Mountain Goats in the nasal but best songs role played by Dan Bejar!

J. Freedom du Lac: That would be an interesting group. But I still prefer JL's voice -- and songs. It's not that I dislike Neko. I would just rather listen to "Rabbit Fur Coat" than "Fox Confessor."


Arlington, Va.: I've listened to "Fox Confessor" probably nine times straight through, plus the occasional shuffle track.

I was only able to get through "Rabbit Fur Coat" one full time. And I dig Rilo Kiley.

Here's vote #2 for you being wrong, wrong, wrong.

J. Freedom du Lac: This is more like Vote #12 for me being wrong.


Silver Spring, Md.: Well, you asked why we didn't go - I didn't go because I prefer not to die of heat exhaustion and because I don't want to sacrifice two full days to standing around outside while drunk guys puke on my shoes. One day, maybe. Two days, no thanks. Also, the last festival I went to was the HFStival a few years ago (at that Baltimore football stadium) and it was just...lame. I don't know, maybe Virgin has found a way to get around the thing where a band plays for half an hour, then you wait for half an hour for the next band to come on, but it's pretty uninteresting to sit through. Also, everyone there was, like, 16 and drunk.

J. Freedom du Lac: Those are some pretty good reasons to skip it.


Bethesda, Md.: Thanks to you both for great V-Fest coverage. Even though I was there for the first day, I still enjoyed all of your posts (and the dead tree version). And the second day posts confirmed that I didn't really miss much.

Favorites: Beasties (as I expected), The Fratellis (I knew I liked the couple of songs I'd heard, but the performance inspired me to buy the album)

Disappointments: Fountains of Wayne (I was bored, though "Radiation Vibe" was good -- but no "Stacy's Mom"? Seriously?), and, a little bit, The Police (maybe I expected too much, but two of my favorites -- "Synchronicity II" and "Wrapped Around My Finger" were let-downs)

Also, if Incubus hadn't insisted on saving one of its better songs ("Dig") till last, while it played what seemed like variations of the same song (because, really, most Incubus songs sound alike) for half an hour, I could have caught more than 20 minutes of Peter Bjorn and John. (Was "Amsterdam" good?)

J. Freedom du Lac: Thanks for the kind words on all of our words.


20010: Another vote for Neko Case.

Jenny Lewis songs generally sound like a bored indie rawker trying too hard to sound "country". Somehow, despite being an old punk drummer from Tacoma, WA and Vancouver (by way of VA, correct?), Neko Case nails it.

J. Freedom du Lac:#13.


Washington, D.C.: That's one of the most impressive corrections I've ever seen! Thanks for pointing it out!

Your review of The Police was similar to one given by The Baltimore Sun's reviewer of their show in Hershey. I'm happy to hear they are playing well and especially the favorable comments about Andy Summers's and Stewart Copeland's playing. I always liked the way they played.

J. Freedom du Lac: The lesson here: If you're going to screw something up, at least make sure that you're setting yourself up for a funny correction!

The funny thing is that there are more than a few deejays who think Greg Gillis is, in fact, a one-trick phony. Doh.


V-Fest Cranky stafff: What was up with the cranky recylcing area attendants? I got yelled at for leaving my cap on my water bottle when I placed in the recycle bin-who knew you needed to have a ph.d in waste mangaement to attend V-Fest!

J. Freedom du Lac: They barked at me, too. Trying to teach us all a lesson in proper recycling, I think.


Olney, Md.: Shakira.

Sorry, but I had to get a reference to her in this chat. Because, well, just because...

J. Freedom du Lac: What better way to end this chat than with a reference to Shakira? Maybe she can headline next year's V-Fest. Now THAT would be hot.

Thanks for stopping by, peoples. If you have more V-Fest thoughts, please do leave them on our blog.

Now, about that nap....


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