I’ve got so many good things to say about Steel Panther live. They have the personas, they have the look, they have the screaming girls and everything else any 80s Heavy Metal band worth their salt had.
Steel Panther are justifiably considered a comedy rock band but these dudes seriously know how to play. Let’s go back 30 years for a minute and replace every profanity Steel Panther use with the word ‘Love’. We would suddenly have song titles such as ‘It Won’t Love Itself’, ‘Supersonic Love Machine’ and ‘Party all Day (Love all night)’. If it wasn’t for the swear words and crude (oh so crude!) lyrics, these guys would have been up there with Mótley Crúe and Def Leppard and not supporting them on their comeback/anniversary tours. The point I’m trying to make is that as entertaining and comedic Steel Panther are, they are worth checking out based on talent alone.
Each member of Steel Panther have had a share of success in other projects with singer Michael Starr having a short stint with L.A Guns to guitarist Satchel playing with the likes of Paul Gilbert and Jeff Martin. Lexxi Foxxx on bass and my personal favourite Stix Zadinia on drums make up this 4 piece band who have a knack of sounding great in venues that notoriously don’t sound great. I’ve seen Steel Panther twice now in the SECC and the O2 Academy in Glasgow which are not exactly the best of venues but somehow Steel Panther are crystal clear from every trouser crushingly high note to the gut rumbling bass lines.
The show begins with ‘In The Future’. A small tale of how the future will turn out. Unfortunately due to the Academy’s ability to make things sound terrible, none of this is exactly clear. Thankfully the band are out quickly and straight into ‘Supersonic Sex Machine’, the first track from the new album ‘Balls Out’. The crowd go crazy, a bra appears on stage, a security guard for some reason snatches a pair of flying pants and quickly realises what he’s caught and the standard is set for a night of pure entertainment.
‘Fat Girl (Thar She Blows)’ is the first proper sing along song the audience get involved in, it’s almost a ballad resembling Whitesnake’s ‘Here I Go Again’. A rare thing happens whilst watching and listening to Steel Panther, you hear the audience going from singing along to bursting out laughing when treated to such lyrics as “I need to roll you in flour to find out where you’re wet”.
The set gathers speed as we’re treated to ‘Asian Hooker’ and ‘Tiger Woods’ before ‘Gold-Digging Whore’ makes an appearance which features one of the best sing alongs I’ve had the pleasure to be involved in. The band spells out Gold-Digging Whore blending it into the song amazingly well, another testament to brilliant song writing. Has to be listened to in fairness but give it a go and I’m sure you’ll appreciate it!
Following ‘Gold-Digging Whore’ Satchel takes centre stage and shows off his talents with a Van-Halen style Eruption solo. This guy has some of the best guitar faces I’ve seen for a long time, a reason in itself for checking Steel Panther out on the live stage.
‘Party All Day (Fuck All Night)’ is near the end of the set and the band get girls from the crowd on stage. One of my favourite moments of the night was seeing a bunch of girls dancing around trying to look sexy and desperately trying to get the attention of the band. Michael Starr pushes a few aside to allow a little shy girl wearing a rock t-shirt to stand with him and enjoy the rest of the song. They are a band who sing about sex drugs and anything else but it was clear to see that Michael Starr would rather a young fan enjoyed herself instead of being surrounded by dancing Gold-Digging Whores. In saying that, they did get a girl to get her tits out so maybe I’m completely wrong!
‘It Won’t Suck Itself’ and ‘Death to All But Metal’ finish the set prior to an encore. The interesting thing about these songs are the album versions feature guest artists so it was nice to hear them performed by just Steel Panther. ‘It won’t Suck Itself’ features Chad Kroeger (Nickleback) on vocals and Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme) on guitar whilst ‘Death to All but Metal’ features Corey Taylor (Slipknot) on backing vocals.
The show ends with ‘17 Girls In a Row’. Maybe not their best song in my opinion but I, and by the looks of everyone else in the building look satisfied with an evening of good rock and good times. They are a no frills band when it comes to the stage show but with personalities and talent like that, there is no need for fireworks and rotating drum kits. I’ve got a feeling it’s only a matter of time though.
A challenge for you is to listen to Steel Panther songs and try and identify the songs they have ‘borrowed’. It might just be a guitar lick or a particular sound used but depending on your knowledge of hair metal you’ll quickly realise that Steel Panther are very clever song writers as songs sound original, but I like to think they are paying tribute to rock by using parts of old songs for their own needs without simply covering them.