When asked if I wanted to review rock gods Steel Panther, I answered quicker than you could say “Don’t threaten me with a good time”. I’d finally got the calling. It was time to press pause on my ‘Rock of Love’ box set dust down my spandex and get ready to rock…..
The fact that the gig was the opening night of their UK tour at iconic Nottingham venue Rock City only added to the gravitational pull and when I arrive support band Falling Red are in full flow and are being treated by the full to capacity crowd like headliners….that is until the main attraction Steel Panther step on the stage.
Blasting straight into ‘Supersonic Sex Machine‘ they ramp the entertainment value right up to eleven and then carry on going. Comparisons with Spinal Tap are obvious as they have built their career on their own brand of parody of the eighties rock bands such as Poison and Mötley Crüe and indeed Charismatic lead singer Michael Starr bears more than a passing resemblance to Poison’s Bret Michaels. However, the reason that their career has been so enduring and their fan base so big is that they have the musicianship to back up the parody and comedy and they are masters at what they do. Two songs in and they are already proving a captivating and intoxicating spectacle.
Being a regular gig goer at Rock City for numerous years I’ve seen many bands and many fans within these four walls, but the sheer adoration coming from the crowd and the frenzied bundle of energy that they have become is evident as they screech every single syllable of Panther’s innuendo filled lyrics at the top of their voices.
A massive part of a Steel Panther gig is based on the banter between the band members between songs and they decide to have a competition between themselves to see who is the st popular member of the band. Judging the results by by the loudness of the screams from the crowd. When they get to drummer Stix, the rest of the band look at each other and proclaim “All the fat girls!”, and then go straight into ‘Fat Girls‘ the song dedicated to the buxom beauties and despite ( or maybe because of) its less than complimentary lyrics, it’s a firm crowd favourite and both the band bellow the chorus hook line of “Thar she blows” with deafening conviction.
The dancing from bassist Lexxi Foxxx and guitarist Satchel during ‘Asian Hooker’ – a song which receives the loudest cheer of the night – would easily be worth the ticket price alone and after Lexxi finishes preening himself in one of the numerous mirrors that he has at his disposal during the gig he’s also thrilled to receive ‘presents’ from the crowd which include 2 bras’s and a thong and displays them like trophies on his microphone.
Singer Michael is encouraged to jump from the highest drum riser, after opting for the smaller jump with Satchel explaining to him that as the crowd had paid ‘Top Dollar‘ for their performance it was expected that he should put the effort in. When the obviously choreographed fall comes along with the protestation from Michael from the floor that he “needed to see boobies to get better”. It is with some surprised that so many women in the audience so readily obliged and duly flashed their assets in order to get the stricken singer back on hits feet. True to his word he jumps up declaring “it’s alright, I’m OK” before confiding in Satchel that they must use the injury thing more often.
Satchel has his chance to shine by delivering a guitar solo featuring many of the rock classics including ‘Paranoid’ and ‘Sweet Child O Mine’ and ending in….er…….’Doe, a Deer’ but that’s par for the course for the night. Although it may seem at times that pantomime season has arrived a couple of weeks early what with the numerous “my side of the crowd is better than your side of the crowd ” protestations. I’d say it was good clean fun, but most of the content is absolutely filthy.
Last song before the encore ‘Death to all but Metal’ is accompanied by a female stage invasion of hand picked and mainly scantily clad pretty girls from the audience (including the girl standing next to me) who all spend the song gyrating and writhing along with the sleazy beat encouraged along by the band to revel in their few minutes of fame in the stage.
With a three song encore including the lament to touring that is ‘Community Property‘ , even though the set has been nearly two hours long its flown by and I could watch it all over again as it seems to be over too soon.
If you’re of a nervous disposition, have a weak heart, or blush when you see someone reading ’50 Shades of Grey’ then a Steel Panther gig probably isn’t the place for you ….but other than that it’s officially the most fun that you can have with your clothes on. Or off. Or indeed at any point between the two.