That dreaded day has once again arrived: the day you realize the plans you made to see all those great acts at Lollapalooza are an impossibility. Wanted to see Kid Cudi and Foo Fighters? Too bad, they're playing at the same time. Like at Coachella, sacrifices must be made, but whereas Coachella boasted only one major headliner per day, Lollapalooza really complicates the situation by scheduling two marquee acts at the same time to end each night. Thankfully, The Amp is back to guide you through those tough calls.
5. A Perfect Circle vs. Bright Eyes vs. Sleigh Bells, 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m., Friday night
Palatable nu-metal, brainy folk rock, and ear-splitting drum-and-thrash all take separate stages at roughly the same hour. Choosing between the three is like deciding to be a Cubs fan or a White Sox fan, or eating deep dish at Lou Malnati's or Gino's East post-show.
Recommendation: It's been too long since we heard Maynard James Keenan sing, with Tool or APC, so head to the Q Music Unlimited stage, whatever that is. The branding at Lollapalooza is really weird this year.
4. Jay Electronica vs. The Pains of Being Pure of Heart, 3 p.m.-4 p.m., Sunday afternoon
Rap's best-kept secret or our favorite My Bloody Valentine worshippers. Another difficult call. We highly recommended Pains when they faced off against Ms. Lauryn Hill and Ariel Pink at Coachella, but this one's tougher, since Jay doesn't exactly tour with Dave Matthews Band prolificacy.
Recommendation: We're going against our gut here and say go see Electronica, even though we have no idea what he'll deliver to the Windy City crowd. Pains' Belong is among our favorite LPs of 2011 so far, but they get around. Instead, familiarize yourself with the rapper Jay-Z had to have as part of his Roc Nation.
3. Big Audio Dynamite vs. Death From Above 1979, 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m., Saturday afternoon
Two reunited acts scheduled on two different stages in nearly the same time slot. BAD factored into the toughest match-up at Coachella, where they faced competition against Animal Collective and Wire, and the decision to see them isn't any easier to make in Chicago. Keep in mind, DFA1979 are followed by Ween on the Bud Light stage, while Cee-Lo Green comes out after BAD on the Q Music Unlimited stage, so factor that into your decision as well.
Recommendation: Big Audio Dynamite have embarked on a U.S. tour that hit most markets between Coachella and Lollapalooza, so there's been adequate opportunities to see them live. If you missed them on their tour, check 'em out, otherwise it's time to make love and listen to Death From Above.
2. My Morning Jacket vs. Eminem, 8:30 p.m.-10 p.m., Saturday night
One of the best live bands on the festival circuit matched up against one of the best rappers in hip-hop. When Lollapalooza releases its lineup in April, you glimpse and think, "Wow, Eminem and My Morning Jacket, I gotta check them out." It doesn't register immediately that you might face the prospect of missing one of these can't-miss sets.
Recommendation: It all comes down to preference. You wanna rock, then MMJ's set is a no-brainer, but the fact that My Morning Jacket are tethered to a two-hour time slot as opposed to their endless late-night set (like at Bonnaroo) has us concerned. Plus, the Circuital material hasn't really had us hitting repeat on iTunes. We'll take a rare performance by Eminem in this showdown.
1. Muse vs. Coldplay, 8:15 p.m.-10 p.m., Friday night
Of all the scheduling conflicts we've ever seen at any festival, this is by far the meanest. This is some serious schadenfreude doled out by Lollapalooza organizers as two devout acolytes of The Bends face off against each other on opposite stages. Being a fan of Muse usually means you're also a fan of Coldplay and vice versa, so this like a "The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones" battle of bands who wish they were Radiohead.
Recommendation: Tough call. If you side more with Gwyneth Paltrow's husband than Kate Hudson's husband, it's an easy decision. However, if you don't want to see Coldplay debut new music on the big stage, Muse's hit-filled set is the way to go. Or you can just hop over to the Perry's Stage and check out Girl Talk, which is what we'd personally do.
Start choosing your own Lollapalooza adventure by checking out the full schedule.