The time of the festival season is ripe in Chicago. Lollapalooza, T-minus 3 days away as of this writing, and this is my, Zach Partin, your loyal Smart Blog contributor and dancing fool extraordinaire, guide to Lollapalooza 2010.

I’ll go over some bands that I am excited to see each day for various reasons, but this being the Smart Blog, I’ll let you know when I’ll be dancing my face off at the newly re-located Perry’s Tent.

FRIDAY

On Friday, Javelin take over the Playstation stage bright and early (for a festival at least) from 11:30 – 12:15. They’re kinda being tossed into this whole (dare I say it) “chill-wave” genre. Check out the song “Vibrationz”

From there, I’ll be walking my way over to The Walkmen, who will not disappoint. They start at 1 PM at the adidas MEGA stage.

Perry’s has a solid lineup starting at 2:15 with the one and only miss Ana Sia. That’s for all you dubsteppers out there, as she has a very crunked out style, that I think everyone can bob their head to. Then we’ve got Stones Throw Records own Peanut Butter Wolf, who I have never seen live, but hear nothing but good things. Directly after that, Kidz in the Hall. That will help you get your hip-hop fix for the day.

I recently heard that Devo is absolutely unbelievable live. I will be at Parkways Foundation stage at 4 PM for their show. That’ll be one to take off the “need-to-see-before-I-die” list.

Then you’ll have your third hardest choice of Lollapalooza Friday: Matt & Kim, Dirty Projectors, or Fuck Buttons. Matt & Kim is going to be one big, sweaty, fantastic dance party. You will not be in a better mood then when they play “Daylight”. Dirty Projectors released Bitte Orca last year, an album that was in the top five of everyone’s end-of-the-year list. And Fuck Buttons play an incredibly dancey form of noise. Take your pick. I’m going to make my decision as I make most my decisions: on a whim.

Now, at 5:30 Perry’s tent starts to slay. Dubsteppers: Caspa, need I say more?

I do this every year. Literally. I want to go other places and see other groups, but I get sucked into dancing with everyone all my friends at Perry’s. This is not a bad thing. Trust me. So I’m going to rally through the rest of Perry’s and revert back to some groups that I’ll probably wish I would’ve seen.

After Caspa, we’ve got Erol Alkan. He’s collaborated with Boys Noize and I hear his sets can vary from bangin’ electro to indie dance cuts and remixes. At 7:30 we’ve got Tiga, who is a legend. If you don’t know, just do yourself a favor and listen. After that, the Soulwax DJ set, otherwise known as 2ManyDJs. These guys will absolutely murder. Some of my good buddies went to Coachella and said that they were one of the best groups they saw.

Problem is that most people will be torn between The Strokes and Lady Gaga. I guess I missed the boat on The Strokes, because I’m just not that interested in seeing them. The toughest choice of Friday: Lady Gaga or 2ManyDJs? I can’t lie, I’m a sucker for pop music, and I have heard that Lady Gaga’s show is an experience. But when are you going to see 2ManyDJs again? You could ask the same thing of yourself for Gaga…decisions, decisions…

Quickly though, let’s dip back a couple hours. Hot Chip or The Black Keys? Second hardest choice of the day. They both released amazing albums this year, and Hot Chip performed a DJ set a couple months back at Smart Bar. And they killed it, of course. Rock ‘n Roll or dance-able indie rock? It’s your call. They’ll be on opposite ends of the festival. And don’t miss one of the most underrated retro-funk-soulsters, Jamie Lidell. He is at the Sony stage. Not last of the day, and surely one not to miss, Chromeo and the adidas stage.

As far as post-festival festivities go, The Metro and Smart Bar have two of the best after parties in the city going on: Cut Copy upstairs and Orchard Lounge/Nate Manic downstairs. Get some sleep, Saturday will not be easy.

SATURDAY

Starting at 2:30 PM, I don’t think you’ll need to leave Perry’s. Steve Porter, PerryEtte vs Chris Cox, Wolfgang Gartner, Joachim Garraud, Kaskade, Rusko, and Empire of the Sun. Wow. Bangin’ electro, commercial house, funky tech house, dubstep, and straight up techno. You can definitely get your fix Saturday. Wolfgang Gartner is really on his way up; just listen to his track “Undertaker.” Joachim Garruad has not released anything sub-par in a long time. Kaskade is going to be at Smart Bar on Saturday night with James Amato & John Simmons, and his new album Dynasty recently made it in the top five in the Billboard Dance Charts. I’ve never seen Empire of the Sun live, but “Walking on a Dream” is a serious anthem. And hopefully Amber from Dirty Projectors comes out and sings “Hold On” with Rusko.

Did you know other bands are playing that day too? So did I. It’s just not fair to have to make these decisions. But if you need a break from Perry’s, I would highly recommend any and all of these:

Stars released a painfully overlooked album this year, The Five Ghosts. They’re signed to Arts & Crafts, which has one of the more solid line-ups out there. They play the Budweiser stage at 2:15 PM. From there you’ve got a choice between Dan Black and The xx. If I leave Perry’s stage, I’ll have to see The xx again. They killed it earlier this year at Lincoln Hall, and it’s amazing how well their debut album transfers over into the live setting. The craziest part about when I saw them live was how when The xx took the stage, all 400 people in attendance went dead silent and focused their full attention on the three kids on stage. If they can repeat this feat at Lollapalooza, I will be more then impressed. They’ll be at the Playstation stage at 3:15. “Shelter” and “Intro” are my favorite tracks.

Grizzly Bear play pretty close to Gogol Bordello. Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest also made everyone’s year-end list. If you’re torn, listen to the song “Two Weeks” and make a decision. They play on opposite sides of the festival as well. At 5:15, Metric takes over the Playstation stage. They’re members of the Arts & Crafts family. If I’m not dancing to Jochim Garraud, Wolfgang Gartner, and Kaskade, this is where I’ll be. Directly after Metric is Spoon at the Budweiser stage, and man, am I going to have a tough time. If only I was two people with the same ears… I’ve never seen Spoon before, so this is really going to be tough for me. Transference is another great album released this year, although it probably hasn’t gotten the recognition it deserves. I think this is because Spoon has consistently released solid albums, one after another, since the lat ‘90’s. Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros are playing at the same time as Spoon, but I only like their song “Home”.

I’ll be the first to admit it: I am not the biggest Dubstep fan. So, with that being said, I am probably, no, definitely going to miss Rusko. I know, I know: it’s Rusko. And his DJ sets are insane. My argument for why I am missing him: Cut Copy. In Ghost Colours is one of my favorite albums. It is an absolute masterpiece. Wait, you haven’t listened to this? It’s okay, just please go listen to “Hearts on Fire”. This song is perfect. It is a dance anthem. Dan Whitford, the bands leader, grew up going to Australian nightclubs and producing dance music. Then he started a band. Cut Copy is the result. I am going to lose my mind when they play “Hearts on Fire” and “Out there on the Ice”. Oh, and if you haven’t heard their new single “Where I’m Going,” check their Myspace.

if you’re not at Empire of the Sun, Phoenix vs Green Day are your choice of headliners.  I doubt Green Day is going to play Dookie in its entirety, and Liztomania is a solid album.

Kaskade takes over Smart Bar for the Official Afterparty. More information and tickets here. He’s from Chicago and always throws down. I hope you’re ready for sweaty, dancey, madness.

SUNDAY

Sunday will be a semi-easy going day for me. I will be rotating between the Budweiser and Playstaion stage. The following bands start almost one after the other, rotating stages.

The Antlers kick things off early at 12:15 PM. Their album Hospice is truly something to get lost in. “Two” and “Bear” are great cuts from that album.

Then we’ve got San Francisco indie-folk rockers The Dodos, who released the excellent Time to Die last year. Although not as good as their debut album Visiter, it still rocks. I had the chance to catch these guys at Sasquatch a couple years ago and they made me forget how hot it was. Perfect way to ease into a hot Chicago summer day. Then we’re going to turn around and check out Blitzen Trapper. If you’re a fan of Pacific Northwest indie with some great harmonizers, don’t miss these guys. Their new album, Destroyer the Void, was released earlier this year with much critical acclaim.

Side note: there has been a ridiculous amount of good music released this year so far. The year-end list is going to be tough to compile.

After Blitzen Trapper, we’ll do another 180 and check out Mumford & Sons. I heard great things about these guys live. A very good friend of mine with respectable music taste said he was “blown away” when he saw them earlier this year. This is a good taste… we’ll be getting our fix of indie-influenced folk.

Last year, I went to Pitchfork and saw one of the best shows I’ve ever witnessed. Maybe it was the rain letting up right as they were finishing “Wait For The Summer,” and maybe it was the added percussion elements, or because it was the first time seeing them live, or maybe it was because these guys are meant to be seen and heard live. Yeasayer, ladies and gentleman, is an absolute must. Super fun indie rock. Their album, Odd Blod, came out in the winter months of this year and possess to of the warmest singles released this year: “Ambling Alp” and the excellent “O.N.E.” Listen to “O.N.E.” all the way through and tell me you’ve ever heard someone channel Michael Jackson that hard.

Frightened Rabbit and Erykah Badu play at the same time. I have to hear Frightened Rabbit play “The Lonliness & The Scream.”

After that we’ve got MGMT, who Smart Bar’s very own Nate Seider said “killed it” at Coachella. This was surprising for me, considering I saw them at Lollapalooza (in 2007, was it?) and it was not anything special. I will definitely take Nate’s word for it. They release Congratulations earlier this year as well. Then we’ve got The National, who released High Violet this year, followed by Arcade Fire, who just released their new album, The Suburbs.  I have yet to listen to either of these releases, though I hear great things. I’m really looking forward to hearing “Wake Up” live. Check this out, David Bowie & Arcade Fire.

Between all that though, I’ll need to find time to dance. Felix Cartel takes Perry’s stage at 12:45 PM. I’ll be back at Perry’s around 5:30 for Dirty South. If you need another summer jam, check out “Phazing”. Then Flosstradamus, Felix da Housecat, and of course, Digitalism. It’s going to be hard to choose between Digitalism and Arcade Fire.

And don’t forget, Smart Bar will be open Sunday night for those of you not completely exhausted from this weekends’ festivities… residents MICHAEL SERAFINI, KID COLOR and ADULTURE will be serving up the Disco Madness at Chicago’s CHEAPEST LOLLA AFTERPARTY of the weekend!  $2 Cover, $2 Wells and $2 PBR’s all night long to wash away the pain from that sunburn you got.

That’s all I can think of in one sitting. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by any of these acts, and don’t forget to swing by Smart Bar for some of the best afterparties in the city this weekend! Have fun, take care of one another, drink some water, and don’t forget to dance.