So, where do you start with a band like Steel Panther ? Well, I started based on the recommendations of lots of friends and my step son, they had all seen Steel Panther before and absolutely raved about them. Me ? well I still didn’t really know what to expect, so when we arrived at the O2 in Newcastle I had heard a few tracks tracks, marvelled at their lyrical capability – more later readers – but couldn’t wait to see them in the flesh.
To say the O2 was full would be a vast understatement…of course the North East has always been well known for its loyal metal following – I know ‘cos it’s my old stomping ground, but to see a venue this full on a school night was a sight to behold. The mix of punters was also quite impressive as Steel Panther seemed to attract as many ladies as it did men…not often the case for a metal gig….I think I was about to find out why !
Now the support band, The Cringe, delivered a pretty decent set…old school rock n roll with no hint of what was to come. This was their first trip to the UK and it made me wonder what such a bunch on NY Yankees would think of the “toon” but they seemed to get on well, ok, as well as you could supporting Steel Panther. Lets hope they come back on their own bill when people will want to see them as opposed to the main act !
So to the main act. Some have described Steel Panther as a “parody heavy metal band” and I have to admit that much of what they do is very, very much tongue firmly wedged in cheek (and, if the lyrics are to be believed, pretty much anywhere else) and some have just dismissed them as nothing but a novelty. All I can say is that they put on one of the best rock n roll shows I have ever seen.
It is very difficult in this review to talk much about the tracks they perform…Gig Junkies is after all family orientated, but what I can say is that each track is beautifully crafted to both shock and entertain at the same time. Steel Panther are certainly not for the faint of heart and even though much of their stuff would scare a maiden aunt to death at 500 paces, they still maintain a level of fabulous musicianship and could probably become a great band in their own right if they chose to do so…but frankly folks, lets hope they don’t because as Steel Panther they are truly awesome.
To describe how they look and what they sound like, cast your mind back to the heady days of the eighties when LA Glam Rock mutated into Hair Metal and you will be about there. Drawing heavily on the influence of the likes of Motley Cure, Poison, Ratt et al….WAIT….drawing on the influence ? – I sound like a muso rock journalist ! What I meant to say was – blatantly copying completely from Motley Crue, Posion, Ratt and Bon Jovi ! The “Influence” even goes to the extent of managing to get nearly the whole of Bon Jovi’s repertoire into one song – the delightfully romantic “Party All Day”. This song has a second part to its title but for the sake of decency I have left it out (google it – but be prepared).
As well as the music, the band have also managed to perfect the look to a tee and I really thought I was having flashbacks to Dave Lee Roth’s set at Donnington in ’84 when they came on stage. And this is where I understood the female/male relationship better because pretty boys hardly covers it ! The effect is so lifelike and so detailed they even have cans hairspray and lipsticks on stage as well as a complete vanity unit and a hand held mirror for the bass player ! (he even has his own fan stage front – no not a person – a real fan to blow his hair in a Coverdale-esque manner).
To complete this look the band also employ a large amount of projected graphics that again match very well with the theme of the LA scene. These look great but the content and err…dubious tone have meant that I have had to be extremely careful in the photos presented as part of this article ! Needless to say, Girls, Bikinis, Cars and Drugs all feature as part of the visuals and all of these added to the overall flashback experience.
There is much more that could be said about this gig….but again decency most certainly precludes it and I think that for now I will leave it at “What goes on at a Steel Panther gig – stays at a Steel Panther gig” – clichéd ? …oh yes, true ? …very much so ! If you want to know more, go and see them if you can get a ticket, but please remember….don’t take your maiden aunt unless you are very, very sure you want to see her demise.