The first time I heard Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine, I imagined a huge 30s style musical with hundreds of dancing girls surrounding one man - Dick Cheese himself – who would be standing in a tux at a glistening grand piano. Professional lighting, gorgeous sequined costumes, a dramatic set. And the Nine Inch Nails lyrics “I want to fuck you like an animal” drifting from an old-fashioned microphone towards the audience over the staccato beats of tap shoes.
I have yet to see this version (though I’ve pitched the idea to Mr. Cheese), but this fantasy should give you some idea of what kind of music he makes. It’s pop and rock, from Sunday Bloody Sunday to Paradise City, done Vegas style. And not only are they funny, but they’re actually good. Richard’s musicians – all given cheese-themed pseudonyms to match his (his real name is something like mark) – are virtuosic and enthusiastic, with exquisite musical and comic timing and a clear understanding of both the genre of music they’re playing and also the nuances of the songs they’re covering.
I’ve rarely played Richard cheese for anyone when they weren’t absolutely delighted. And those who get turned on to him become true devotees (one friend who drove from Long Beach to Las Vegas just to see him live). Which is why it was sad sad news for fans like me when we heard Richard was taking a hiatus of undetermined length. I even flew to L.A. last month to see what might’ve been his only show this year.
Lucky for you, though, Richard’s back on the road – and in San Francisco at the Red Devil Lounge on May 27. The show is sure to sell out, though, so get your tickets when they go on sale tomorrow (the 18th). Then get ready to put on your martini-drinking pants. Or your tap shoes. Whatever. (Molly Freedenberg)