The Boxer Rebellion
For a relatively unknown band, the Boxer Rebellion have weathered quite a bit of drama since their 2001 formation. Tennessee native Nathan Nicholson relocated to London after his mother's death, assembling a band with Australian guitarist Todd Howe and British drummer Piers Hewitt. After adding bassist Adam Harrison, the group retooled its music and emerged with more standard-sounding indie-rock songs. Their 2003 debut EP netted them gigs with the Killers and the Raveonettes, but Nicholson's burst appendix nearly ended the band and his life. Their first full-length, Exits, came out in 2005; two weeks later, their label collapsed, and they've remained unsigned ever since. Their follow-up, Union, led to spots on Grey's Anatomy, One Tree Hill, and other TV shows. Their third album, The Cold Still, was released a year ago, but they postponed their first U.S. tour because of a "personal tragedy." They finally make it to town this week. — Brian Baker
With Canon Blue. 8 p.m. Thursday, May 3. Grog Shop. Tickets: $14, $12 in advance; call 216-321-5588 or go to grogshop.gs.
Rammstein are playing arenas? Really?! Yeah, we're kinda baffled by this too. Fans outside the U.S. have long witnessed the Berlin group's stadium spectacles and are quick to throw up the devil horns along with the rallying cry of "Rammstein über alles!" But our midlevel venues that served the band in the past can't hold Rammstein's incendiary live shows anymore. The U.S. leg of their Made in Germany 1995–2011 greatest-hits tour seems like a throne grab: With Nine Inch Nails in semi-retirement, no one else represents industrial music in such grand and accessible ways as Till Lindemann and his krauthammers. Will this string of shows boggle our minds and assault our senses? Most definitely. Will they have much impact on how the band is perceived in the U.S.? Who knows. Either way, this week's concert at the Q (yes, the Q!) will shake your fillings loose and fulfill your pyrotechnics quota for the next year or two. — Peter Chakerian
8 p.m. Thursday, May 3. Quicken Loans Arena. Tickets: $39.50-$82.50; call 888-894-9424 or visit theqarena.com.
French multi-instrumentalist Yann Tiersen has been making music since 1995. But it wasn't until director Jean-Pierre Jeunet asked him to score his 2001 movie Amélie that Tiersen's career took off. His playful compositions for the film used accordion and other whimsical instruments to reflect the many moods of the quirky and adorable title character played by Audrey Tautou. Tiersen has since scored a couple of other films, but the 41-year-old artist makes more than soundtracks. Two years ago, he released his first U.S. album, Dust Lane, marking the occasion by expanding his palette to include synthesizers and guitars. Tiersen's new album, Skyline, continues these explorations, resulting in a hauntingly beautiful post-rock record that's sprinkled with flourishes of classical and experimental sounds. He brings a full band with him to the Beachland this week. — Eddie Fleisher
With Felix. 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 3. Beachland Ballroom. Tickets: $18, $15 in advance; call 216-383-1124 or visit beachlandballroom.com.
The South African trio Civil Twilight borrow more musical tricks from bands like Coldplay, Keane, and other modern melodic alt-rockers than they do from the artists you usually think of when someone says "South African trio." There's way more Unforgettable Fire-era U2 than Graceland-era Paul Simon on 2009's self-titled debut and the recently released Holy Weather. They often reach higher than they can grab, layering marching drums, ringing guitars, and mountaintop vocals until everything topples under the weight. That makes their songs ideal for emotional moments on TV shows like House and One Tree Hill. And cuts like "Letters From the Sky" and "Highway of Fallen Kings" are as grand as their titles let on. Like the bands they're into, Civil Twilight can get a little pretentious, implying depth that just isn't there. But Bono and the boys haven't sounded this grounded in a couple of decades. — Gallucci
With 1, 2, 3. 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 9. Beachland Ballroom. Tickets: $12, $10 in advance; call 216-383-1124 or visit beachlandballroom.com.
"Weird Al" Yankovic
Here's the thing about "Weird Al" Yankovic: Nobody should ever have to sit through an entire album of his. They're really not that good. Once you get past the handful of contemporary and spot-on spoofs of whatever Top 40 songs have been clogging your ears for the past year or so, there's not much left other than polka medleys, a few tame and lame originals, and a song or two that aim for bigger targets and totally miss them. But Yankovic's parodies over the past 30 years are deservedly classics of their kind: "Another One Rides the Bus," "Eat It," "Like a Surgeon," "Fat," "Amish Paradise," "White & Nerdy." And if you haven't heard his 1999 epic "The Saga Begins," which recounts Star Wars: The Phantom Menace to the tune of "American Pie," do yourself a favor and track it down. Yankovic puts together a more coherent space opera in five and a half minutes than George Lucas does in two-plus hours. His latest album, last year's Alpocalypse, takes on the paparazzi (via Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me") and Craigslist (with a mix of the Doors), among other topics. And the "Polka Face" medley that takes off from Lady Gaga is almost as inspired as its title. — Michael Gallucci
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 8. Akron Civic Theatre. Tickets: $27.50-$65; call 330-253-2488 or go to ticketmaster.com.
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