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Lollapalooza: 5 Picks for Today and 1 for Tonight

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 3, 2007 2:30PM

Each morning we're going to highlight five bands playing at Lollapalooza that we think are worth seeing. Some will be popular, some less known, but we believe they're all worth your time. And for those not making it to the festival itself, we'll round it out with an additional show going on after the grounds close down for the evening.

2007_08_silversunpickups.jpgThe Switches
We are sure we'll be cursing this band from England throughout the day. Why? Well, if it wasn't for The Switches, there's no way we'd be getting to Lollapalooza at the crack of 11:15 to open the festival. But they are, and there's no way we're missing their turbo-charged and slightly swishy glam-pop, even if it means braving a mid-day sun in full hangover mode. They actually sound like a peppier and goofier version of one of our other favorites of the weekend, Muse. Their mixture of bombast and youthful snot should wake everyone in their audience right the heck up. (BMI stage, 11:15 a.m.)

Ted Leo + Pharmacists
How good is Ted Leo's live show? So good that even though we're seeing him tomorrow night at Double Door, we're still willing to brave the masses to catch his daytime set at Lollapalooza. Hypercharged punk, tinged with ska, and impossible falsetto acrobatics drives his show. But the biggest charge comes from the interplay between Leo and his Pharmacists as they barrel through every tune with the desperate energy of a drowning man swimming towards an ever-receding surface. (MySpace stage, 1:30 p.m.)

The Polyphonic Spree
Honestly, having only experienced The Polyphonic Spree within the confines of The Empty Bottle every time we've seen them, we should be dreading their set as a potential let-down. However, we loved their most recent album, The Fragile Army, and appreciate the fact they finally figured out how to harness their wall of sound and direct it through tighter arrangements and stronger melodies. Plus, one of our own is slated to appear on the stage with them in the local dance troupe Chicago Tap Theatre. In other words, it sounds like Tim DeLaughter and his merry clan of noisemakers have figured out how to make the transition to the big time. (Bud Light stage, 2:30 p.m.)

Silversun Pickups
We admit to being a little torn about this one, since The Rapture is playing at the same time, but we're betting that Silversun Pickups' massive guitars will fare better in a festival setting. We're still not sure why everyone keeps comparing them to Smashing Pumpkins, when the only thing the two groups seem to have in common is a love of distorted guitar. Silversun Pickups write songs that always sound slightly fatigued before dive-bombing into glorious sludge. These kids share way more in common with My Bloody Valentine in the way they bury the hooks beneath sheets of glorious noise. (Citi stage, 5:00 p.m.)

LCD Soundsystem & Daft Punk
We're counting this as one band, since they're sharing a field and one goes on right after the other. There is no other place to be to close out tonight's bill. We fully expect to wander out exhausted after the non-stop dance party both bands will deliver smudged with the wonder of experiencing both in tandem with the opening day's sun slowly dying behind the Chicago skyline. (LCD Soundsystem is on the MySpace stage at 7:30 p.m., and Daft Punk is on the AT&T stage at 8:30 p.m.)

We've long been fans of Sybris and their swerving rock. We admit the first time we saw them we were convinced we were watching Edie Brickell on acid (oh wait, can we say that?) ... but that was their very first show, and they've gotten much better. The songs still sway majestically, but now there's an added force behind their rhythms, and a closer eye upon the melodies. The last time we saw them they were opening for Wolfmother (!), and they more than held their own in the face of that Australian trio's assault. That only cemented our belief that Sybris is a force to be reckoned with, and it's only a matter of time before this Midwestern buried treasure gets discovered by everyone else. (House Of Blues on the Porch Stage, 10:30 p.m.)

Photo of Silversun Pickups by Chona Kasinger