Consider Discordia a musical response to President Bush's foreign policy. "It's a commentary on our society and how things are co-opted, and how we allow ourselves to be controlled by people in power," explains Raymond Bobgan, director of the Cleveland Public Theatre show.
Discordia -- written by James Levin and Linda Eisenstein -- began in workshop more than two years ago. And while it's been tweaked in the wake of 9-11, Bobgan admits that a political musical isn't an easy sell. "Some things are very simplistic, some are more complex," he says. "I hope this sends a more complex message than 'Republicans are bad.' That's not what the show is about. It's about how to act with integrity." Discordia runs through November 8; Cleveland Public Theatre is at 6415 Detroit Avenue. Show times are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets range from $13 to $18, available by calling 216-631-2727. -- Michael Gallucci
Marshall Crenshaw has been making sunny pop for more than 20 years. On his new CD, What's in the Bag?, he brings jazz, funk, soul, and instrumental space-age music to the mix (even covering Prince and Bootsy Collins). The album plays out like a song cycle of Life With Marshall; the introspective tracks reflect an artist entering his next stage of evolution. Members of Jazz Passengers and Sex Mob are on tour with him, which oughta open up Crenshaw classics like "Someday, Someway," "Whenever You're on My Mind," and "You're My Favorite Waste of Time." They play the Beachland Ballroom (15711 Waterloo Road) at 8 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $18 and $20, available by calling 216-383-1124. -- Michael Gallucci
Southern rockers Gov't Mule just released their eighth album, their sixth live disc in seven years. The Deepest End -- which comes with a DVD and documents an entire show from last May -- offers an entry point for newcomers (plenty of their trademark extra-long jams) as well as some scorching cover tunes (including Black Sabbath's "Sweet Leaf" and "War Pigs") for longtime fans. They're best onstage: See for yourself at the Phantasy Theatre (11802 Detroit Avenue in Lakewood) at 8 p.m. Thursday. Chris Robinson & New Earth Mud open. Tickets are $23, available by calling 216-241-5555. -- Michael Gallucci