The Incredible Moses Leroy isn't really a musician; he's a substitute teacher. And his name is not really Moses Leroy; his great-grandfather's name is Moses Leroy. And he's not an incredible superhero by any stretch of the imagination; he's just got a large arsenal of weird pop records in his secret, underground "hideout." Thankfully, reality is not a prerequisite for good pop music. Building on a little sample of, say, a twee-voiced children's choir, Leroy adds snippets of Casio keyboard, sitar, Moog, empty gasoline cans, and his own goofy sentiments (like "You are my itchy sweater") to fashion slivers of a pop-music compass that send you to the shiny, sun-coated world of a 1960s dish detergent commercial, just before spinning off into a guitar-driven indie rock tune that dissolves into swirly bachelor-pad lounge music and Space Age instructional themes. Whatever else the Incredible Moses Leroy is not, he's fun, and he performs on Thursday, July 5, at "Popscene" at 330 Ritch at 10 p.m. Tickets are $5-8; call 541-9574.
Everything sounds better in German -- nursery rhymes, children's stories, poetry, greeting cards, most opera, and all industrial music. By "better" I mean, of course, "heavy" and "menacing." (Really, who doesn't prefer a menacing children's story to a soppy one? Certainly not children.) In this respect, Rammstein makes Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson sound positively precious. Admittedly, it wasn't the sound or even the German-ness that got me interested; like a lot of people, I came to Rammstein by way of its live performance, the reputation of which preceded the sextet by several states during early U.S. tours. For those enchanted by blazing histrionics, musical bombast, religious and political blasphemy, sexual depravity, and general adolescent malignancy (and who isn't, at least on weekends), Rammstein's live show is like a fairy tale come to visit. With its latest record, Mutter, Rammstein has once again created the perfect soundtrack for the Teutonic fantasy of an adolescent boy, complete with violent battles and equally violent sexual conquest. This is nothing new: Since its debut, Rammstein has done very little to adjust its formula, but why do so? Good, old-fashioned marching music has roused nations for centuries. Add some seething guitar, a Gregorian choir or two, some growling, and the vitiated imaginations of a bunch of muggers from East Germany, and you've got an interesting evening. Embarrassingly, there are some folks who take Rammstein's tumult and furor seriously -- see those looking for an easy explanation for the Columbine High School shootings, and those jumping all over the music video Rammstein made for its cover of Depeche Mode's "Stripped," which turned out to be a publicity trap baited with Leni Riefenstahl films. Rammstein doesn't need to be taken seriously to be appreciated (or depreciated, for that matter); it just needs to be seen for what it is. Which will be a good, sweaty, head-pounding time when Rammstein performs on Thursday, July 5, at the Warfield with Godhead and Crossbreed opening at 8 p.m. Tickets are $21.50-25; call 775-7722.
In the heads of Petrol's Michael and Graham Shaw the Western world can be divided into two classes of people: those who love Cheap Trick and those who mistakenly think Cheap Trick is worth nothing more than "I Want You to Want Me." Due to some psychological, chemical, or financial imbalance, this latter class of philistines has plagued the Shaws in a most unhealthy way; so, using the 21st anniversary of Cheap Trick's At Budokan to exorcise their demons, they organized a tribute night. To their surprise, it sold out, as did the following year's show, which was held in a larger venue. This year's "Heaven Tonight III: A Tribute to Cheap Trick" will be held at a still larger venue, and given the lineup -- Petrol, Persephone's Bees, American Heartbreak, Three Years Down, Hell Brothers, Hookey, Monolith, and Dirty Power -- it's going to be packed. What next? Budokan? "Heaven Tonight III" will be held on Friday, July 6, at Slim's at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 255-0333.