Live Photos and Gig Review Credit: Dave Burke (Photographer/Live Gig reporter)
With song titles like “Gloryhole”, “Asian Hooker” and “Fat Girl (Thar She Blows)” don’t expect insightful social commentary or deep philosophical musings from LA’s Steel Panther. What you can expect from the Glam Metal quartet is a hilariously profane and ridiculously entertaining homage to the over the top 1980’s Sunset Strip metal scene.
The band delivered on that promise of a good time Friday night to a sold out crowd of nearly 2000 at The Sandlot at The Watering Hole in Green Bay WI.
Show opener and local favorite, Annex had plenty of family and friends in attendance to cheer them on, though their performance was plagued by several technical issues. The band never faltered as the the PA system repeatedly cut in & out during their solid 45 minutes of hard rock favorites from KISS, Cinderella and others.
At approximately 9:30 Steel Panther pounced on the bare bones stage from a cloud of fog and red, blue and purple lights, with the chugging riff of “Eyes Of A Panther” from their 2009 debut “Feel The Steel”. As vocalist Michael Starr posed and pranced at the foot of the stage, doing is best David Lee Roth, guitarist Satchel and bassist Lexxi Foxx delivered choreographed unison kicks, twists and twirls flanking drummer Stix Zadinia’s drum riser at the rear.
From the opening moments the crowd, many decked out in wigs and spandex, emulating their heroes on stage, sang back every lyric to Starr. The straight ahead rocker an anomaly in the band’s catalog in that it’s neither profane or comic, just a straight up tale of a femme fatale on the prowl.
Ratcheting up their trademark comedic elements the band kicked into “Tomorrow Night” from their sophomore release “Balls Out”. A catchy tale of the most epic party ever, filled with sex drugs and debauchery of all kinds, but unlike every other party song you’ve ever heard, the party of the century isn’t going on tonight, sadly it’s tomorrow night. As the crowed joins Starr in the huge hook filled chorus he laments “But tonight I’m playing Angry Birds, like a million other stupid nerds. Tonight I’m going to burp the worm, by myself”.
The ensuing 16 song set was a mix of both rockers and ballads from the band’s three studio releases, featuring such fan favorites as “Just Like Tiger Woods”, Turn Out The Lights”, “Community Property”, “Girl From Oklahoma” and the set closing, Bon Jovi inspired, “Party All Day (Fuck All Night)”. In addition to their own material the band invited a local 15 year old fan onstage to play drums for an energetic, if uneven rendition of AC/DC’s Highway to Hell. Not shying away from a little more fan interaction, a horde of female fans were also called to the stage to dance with the band for another tale of over the top promiscuity, “Seventeen Girls In A Row”.
Though considered by some as more of a parody than a musical act, the material is filled with hard rocking riffs, blistering solos and catchy sing along choruses that are almost impossible to resist. With tongues planted firmly in cheek the band celebrates a bygone era with their over the top tales of groupies, STDs, parties and the stereotypical trappings of the rock n roll life.
What’s almost as surprising as the seemingly out of nowhere success of a band of 40 somethings playing 80’s style hard rock is that Steel Panther’s fan base is filled with fans in their early and mid 20’s who couldn’t possibly remember the mid 80’s glory days of MTV and the “hair metal” scene. Not only does the band draw a large number of young rock fans, but a overwhelming large number of female fans who embrace the faux misogyny for the satire that it is.
Not shying away from turning the tables on themselves the members of Steel Panther are quick to become the butt of the jokes, with long scripted monologues of smilingly spontaneous stage banter that mock each of them in turn.
The entire show was exactly what a rock concert at it’s best can be, a high energy communal experience of people singing, dancing and laughing at the same in jokes as they thrust fist into the air or banged their heads.
Steel Panther will head over to Australia for a string of dates in June. Check out steelpantherrocks.com for tour dates and info on their latest release “Live From Lexxi’s Mom’s Garage”.