I love a good smackdown. Except when it comes to bands.

Every year of Lollapalooza, I’ve lost my friends during the pivotal afternoon time slots. Last year, I stood alone at Andrew Bird when my friends headed over Matisyahu. I didn’t find them again until several hours later (thanks, text messaging!)

If you’ve ever been to Lollapalooza, you know that the planners have ESP. They somehow can sense which bands are on your must-see list. They then manage to put them at the same time slot at stages umpteen miles apart. This means that you must either (a) sacrifice Cold War Kids to Rhymefest, or (b) run like hell to cross the great divide between the two fields. It is the concert world’s cruelest joke.

This year, I’ve made my choices ahead of time (see below). So have some of the city’s bloggers and critics; if you’re looking for guidance, I’ve pasted their stuff below.

Whom will you choose from the smackdowns below? Write in and tell us.

And, hey, check back. We’ll be blogging from the show, so look for updates, photos, and some interviews.

The Top Smackdowns at Lollapalooza 2007

(with my picks in red)

Femi Kuti vs. LCD Soundsystem (7:30 Friday night)
Rhymefest vs. Cold War Kids (3:30 Saturday)
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah vs. The Roots (4:30 Saturday)
Lupe Fiasco vs. Amy Winehouse (2:15 Sunday)
Yo La Tengo vs. !!! (5:15 Sunday)
My Morning Jacket vs. Modest Mouse (6:15 Sunday) (I’m stalking them in the nicest sense of the word)
Peter Bjorn and John vs. Bound Stems (5 and 5:30  Sunday, respectively) (Sorry, Chicago band)

* * *

What Critics Are Saying

Kot and the Tribune folks have put together a nifty little flash montage.

Gapers Block previews Lollapalooza.

Pitchfork has ignored Lollapalooza for the most part, but this does have one funny line:    “Admit it, the band you’re most excited about is Silverchair. You’re going to tell everyone it’s Daft Punk, but we know the truth.”

Metromix weighs in with its top 15.

Some interesting suggestions in the comments box at Chicagoist.