Words: Alan Daly / Pics: Olga Kuzmenko (Olga Kuzmenko Photography)
Pussy. Dick. Boobies. Cock. Vagina. Fuck.
If you were expecting to read anything more sophisticated in this review of Steel Panther’s Irish cherry-popping, then you’ll be sadly disappointed. It may have taken seventeen years (in a row) for the LA parody glam metal quartet to cum to Ireland, but it took just a few hours to sell out tonight’s show in the Academy. Undoubtedly capable of filling a bigger venue such as the Olympia, Steel Panther are the latest band to suffer contention for the limited mid-sized live music venues in Dublin. The positive side of this is that the venue is bustling with over-excited Steel Panther virgin fans, many of whom have gone to the effort of dressing in 80s glam regalia. As the over-inflated condoms float and bounce above the crowd, it’s clear that it’s going to be a fun night.
“By the year 2022, all forms of music other than heavy metal will be outlawed by the united nations’ international court of justice. The law will be strictly enforced and will be punishable by death, castration, life in prison, or whatever combination of these things has the greatest index of deterrence among the said offender. In order to save the youth of the world from their own completely terrible taste in music, the new globalist government will enlist the only band capable of rocking some sense into these douchey kids. The greatest heavy metal band. Steel Panther. Steel. Mother. Fucking. Panther.” Thus spoke the recorded intro which is met with a surprisingly lackluster response from the audience. So much so, that guitarist Satchel insists on it being played a second time to elicit a louder welcome, the reward for which is the raucous opening number ‘Supersonic Sex Machine’.
A quick transition into ‘Tomorrow Night’, also taken from their hilarious 2011 album Balls Out, and despite being the first show of this European tour, it’s already apparent that the farcical foursome is firing on all cylinders. Michael Starr’s pitch-perfect high notes defy his presumably-dropped-testicles, and the rest of the band back him up with equally rock-hard performances. Minor technical difficulties during the first couple of songs are explained by Satchel, saying “we had money for more sound techs, but we spent it all on cocaine”. This is the opening line of a comedy routine that lasts around ten minutes, and while the offensive, sexually explicit and often self-deprecating banter is par for the course at a Steel Panther show, it turns out that many fans would have rather heard an extra song or two in the strict 90 minute stage time. The fooling around between tracks continues as they cherry-pick four tracks each from Feel the Steel, Balls Out and Lower the Bar. ‘Asian Hooker’ and ‘Goin’ in the Backdoor’ keep the pace moving before the anthemic power-ballad ‘Wasted Too Much Time’ gets lighters out and fans singing along.
Guitar solos can be hit and miss at gigs, often providing an opportunity for punters to take a piss or grab a pint, but when Satchel is left alone onstage, we’re pleasantly surprised by the outcome. Aside from the usual shredding and doodling, he makes his way to the drum kit, and uses the kick drum and guitar to impressively run through one-man snippets of a slew of rock and metal classics including ‘Rock you like a Hurricane’, ‘2 Minutes to Midnight’, ‘Enter Sandman’, ‘Paranoid’, ‘Breaking the Law’, ‘The Trooper’, ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’, and the classic ‘Doe a Deer’. A surprisingly entertaining interlude, deserving of a better reception than was afforded to him, despite humorously asking the crowd to calm down.
Drummer Stix takes a seat at a keyboard at the front of the stage for ‘Weenie Ride’, before the moment that all the ladies in the front rows have been waiting for… Starr and Satchel invite all the hot girls onstage to dance during the fan favorite ‘Seventeen Girls in a Row’, where they remain for ‘Gloryhole’, continuing to grope and be groped in an orgy of messy gyrating.
A trio of classic tracks from their 2009 major-label debut Feel The Steel; ‘Death to all but Metal’, ‘Community Property’ and ‘Party All Day’ wrap up the setlist. It was a long time coming, but Steel Panther’s first performance in Dublin did not disappoint. They’ve promised to return soon, but don’t expect it to be in such an intimate venue next time. Those present tonight will be able to fondly remember their first time, and say “I was there”.