By Drew and Gail Fountain
Larger than life, louder than hell, and cooler than shit.. Steel Panther
delivers that and more. Steel Panther’s lyrics are over-the-top shocking, absurdly graphic, and a step beyond raunchy.
Buckhead Theatre was sold out on a Sunday night. NYC band Tragedy started the fun with inspired metal covers of Bee Gees, Grease and Neil Diamond. The crowd swayed and sang along. Next, Crobot delivered an energetic hard rock show with a large demon stage prop that blew smoke out its mouth.
The crowd was wet with excitement for a juicy slice of 80s hair metal humor. A curtain closed in front of the stage, as if to hide some tasty treat. Anticipation built. A pre-recorded track played. The curtain opened, the stage lights flashed on and Steel Panther ran on stage, taking their places on risers, then walking around the main stage in circles, and lining up and rocking back and forth together. The main set opened with a lively rendition of “Eyes of a Panther” on which lead singer “Michael Starr” let out a few David Lee Roth style screams that were spot on.
Steel Panther’s stage presence is so campy and tongue in cheek that you can’t help but laugh. They take the hair metal genre to an extreme parody, copying musical styles, costumes, hair and moves by bands such as Poison, Motley Crue and Def Leppard. But the band’s singing and instrumental work was amazing: proficient and intense, precise and well timed.
Between songs, singer Michael Starr and lead guitarist “Satchel” would tell gratuitous jokes about money, cocaine, body parts, and sexual gratification.
Starr, to a lady in the crowd: “What does your pussy smell like? Is that your man? I’d suck his dick to smell your pussy.”
Satchel: “I never sucked a dick for pussy, only for money!”
The new bassist “Spyder” was introduced, then the drummer, “Stix” Zadinia, who responded with a double bass drum pounding. The band asked Stix to do an imitation of Rick Allen, who stashed his left arm under his shirt, then he one-armed his way through. Amputee jokes about Rick Allen ensued: “He’s left out” … “He’s all right”.
An unsuspecting Asian lady was brought on stage for the song “Asian Hooker”. She seemed embarrassed, but she laughing through the feigned flirting on stage. The song ended with a sincere hug from Starr, who put some money in her hand as she walked off stage.
After a couple more misogynistic ditties, including “1987” from new album On the Prowl, the band departed, claiming they needed an 8-ball [of cocaine]. Satchel whipped out a long solo, stroking his guitar with finger tapping that included “Eruption” that would make Eddie Van Halen smile from heaven. The audience grinned at the familiar riffage.
During the song “Never Too Late (To Get Some Pussy Tonight)”, around 30 ladies came… on stage, dancing and singing. Despite the sexist lyrics, the members were soft, gentle and respectful to all the ladies. The dancers stayed as the main set ended with “Fuck All Night, Party All Day”.
The encore started out with “Community Property”, with its lyrics “My heart belongs to you, but my cock is community property”. The Poison-like dance sequence at the end was also funny. Next, they did their old “Paris hat” story as a lead-in to the last song, “Gloryhole”.
Crobot singer Brandon Yeagley joined them on stage, and after the bridge, Tragedy’s drummer, The Infernal Demigibb, joined to sing the final chorus.
There’s such a dichotomy about the idea of sleaziness vs the class act that Steel Panther delivered. They mostly get credit for being a crude comedy act when they should get more credit for their proficient music chops. Even the most hardcore feminist could see the absolute ROTFL humor of the band. Steel Panther’s instrumental work is amazing, proficient and intense, precise and well timed. The band’s instrumental skills were outstanding and delivery was spot-on. Catch them while they’re On the Prowl in your town at steelpantherrocks.com/pages/tour.
Photos by Ken Lackner.