Live Photos and Gig Review Credit: Adrian Hextall (Photographer/Live Gig reporter Myglobalmind Webzine
Brixton Academy is one of the premier music venues in London. A sloping floor ensures every one of the 3,760 standing downstairs get an excellent view of tonight’s proceedings. With an extra 1100+ seated, the sold out crowd tonight nears 5,000 people, all here to witness the antics of Steel Panther. Much of the audience in the front 5 rows can be seen wearing a mix of Day-Glo outfits, wigs, bandanas and some of the worst leopard print spandex imaginable. The order of the night is clearly “fun”.
Poles apart from the headliners in style, The Cringe open the show and get 40 minutes to impress the young crowd with their set. Hailing from New York, the birthplace of MyGlobalMind, The Cringe are about to release their fourth album ‘Hiding in Plain Slight’ and present a musical style more akin to Foo Fighters, Ramones and perhaps a little bit of Blur.
They put everything into their set to energise the audience and come across live a lot heavier and faster than on their albums. John Cusimano works the large Brixton stage well throwing himself into every song ably supported by drummer Shawn Pelton whose arms whirl constantly over his kit.
They play some clever choices of songs given the headline act and as such we get to hear Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’ which they blend seamlessly from their own track ‘In God We Trust’. The audience warm and sing back to them on this one and it allows the band who are “playing in the biggest venue of our career so far…” to really loosen up and enjoy themselves. James Rotondi on guitar and Jonny Blaze on bass look slightly lost with the extra stage space afforded to them but nevertheless add to the mix to form a very tight machine.
‘Finally Gonna Be On Your Own’ and ‘String You Along So Long’ are aired from latest album with the former track sounding like a mix of The Who and The Strokes. The use of Thin Lizzy’s ‘Jailbreak’ at the end also ensures they finish on a high playing to an audience that has been able to sing along to something they all know well.
Finally Gonna Be On Your Own
String You Along So Long
In God We Trust / Paranoid (Black Sabbath cover)
On and On
I Can’t Walk
Jailbreak (Thin Lizzy cover)
John Cusimano, vocals, guitar and keys
James “Roto” Rotondi, guitar
Jonny Blaze, bass
Shawn Pelton, drums
What should have been a one off comedy album, lampooning the excesses of the 1980s with the permed hair, the skin tight coloured spandex, the girls, the drugs etc.. has turned into a remarkable career for Steel Panther as shown by the totally sold out show tonight. The reason for this is clear however. Unlike spoof bands of old including Bad News from the UK, the four piece are supremely talented musicians and have a knack of writing songs that regardless of lyrical content cannot help but get you moving.
To name them by anything other than their stage names would destroy the image the band have worked so hard to produce but it’s worth mentioning that their pedigree as musicians includes stints in L.A Guns, Van Halen Tribute bands, and Satchel especially has served time with Jeff Pilson’s post- Dokken band War & Peace and Rob Halford’s band Fight.
They arrive on stage to ‘Eyes of a Panther’ from debut ‘Feel The Steel’ and en-masse the 3,700+ fans in the stands start to bounce in unison. Although a relatively simple stage set built around Stix the video screen behind them adds another layer to the comedy of their lyrics with ‘appropriate’ visuals that work very well, especially on ‘Asian Hooker’.
Two songs in and the in band banter \ insults commence. Well-rehearsed with perfect timing, Satchel and Michael Starr rip each other to pieces with petty jibes with Lexxi Foxx offering a view of the world at appropriate times in a way that only Lexxi can.
This between song banter lasts the best part of 15 minutes but doesn’t get old. The songs then follow thick and fast with everything sounding like a hit single, the new songs sitting seamlessly with the older tracks. Playing in support of new album ‘All You Can Eat’, we are treated to highbrow material such as ‘Glory Hole’ , ‘Party Like Tomorrow Is The End Of The World’ and the wonderful Def Leppard plagiarizing ‘The Burden of Being Wonderful’ which sounds very much like a modern ‘Hysteria’.
There are calls from the band to the girls in the audience to show them some “titties” (“but not the fat chicks in front of the bassist” confirms Starr). Girls of all ages oblige, caught up in the drunken frat party that is playing out in front of them. Not content with seeing the girls in the crowd, the band then invite around 40 or so up on stage to gyrate, disrobe and party. There is no shortage of takers at this point and the stage is soon full of late teens / early twenties (in several cases the websites they could appear on would be called ‘Barely Legal’) who have no qualms about removal of tops and leggings to display their wares. Given the number of video cameras in the room tonight, the DVD release may result in some explaining to parents at a later stage!
‘Community Property’ is practically sung for them by the crowd and the set is closed with ‘17 Girls In A Row’ and ‘Party All Day (Fuck All Night)’.
Everyone goes home a happy, sweaty mess and for all of the doubters out there, who see Steel Panther as nothing more than a joke, give them a chance. Look past the lyrical content and appreciate the music first (Satchel was even an instructor at The Guitar Institute of Technology (G.I.T.) at Hollywood’s Musician’s Institute at one time) as it really is top drawer stuff.
Lyrically it’s pure comedy gold but who says rock music can’t be fun?
Eyes of a Panther
Just Like Tiger Woods
Party Like Tomorrow Is The End of The World
Let Me Cum In
Turn Out The Lights
The Burdon of Being Wonderful
Gold Digging Whore
It Won’t Suck Itself
Death To All But Metal
17 Girls In A Row
Party All Day (Fuck All Night)
Michael Starr – lead vocals
Satchel – guitar
Lexxi Foxx – bass and makeup
Stix Zadinia – drums