Steel Panther at the Eaton’s Hill Hotel, Brisbane, October 10 2012

Knowing the reputation that this LA-based hair metal outfit has earned, and knowing how they’ve earned it – with songs that parody glam, metal and the 80’s bigger than even their own bass-player’s wig – one could easily assume that an entertaining experience at the whim of this band’s performance was a mere certainty.  After experiencing it all first-hand last night (you should really look up a youtube clip to whet your appetite) my assumptions have only been proved correct.  – Though not in a sense that most traditional music lovers would experience a show.

This is Steel Panther. – A group of tiring metalheads who’ve found their fame by taking the piss out of a genre that their musical resumés show they know and love so well.  With big wigs, arms full of fake tattoos, all the spandex, shiny fabric, makeup and sexual innuendo you’d expect from a band who’s frontman declares his cock ‘community property’, you can almost imagine the hoard of groupies backstage that their bravado inspires.

Fortunately for them, they manage to execute their whole ‘act’ with the greatest of skill and musical ability, with ‘Satchel‘, the band’s guitarist and backing vocalist, effortlessly shredding his way through an unbelievable array of all the speed that 80’s metal had to offer – with the Steel Panther sexual, gimmicky twist, including a kitsch sunkist orange tiger-print guitar –  at the helm of the night’s proceedings – perhaps a little contrary to what you’d presume.

click to enlarge and truly appreciate Lexxi Foxxx’s windswept mane

The band’s frontman – the oversexed, overworked (16 facelifts and counting, according to Satchel), ‘better than any 50 year old singing today‘ – ‘Michael Starr’ may assume the captain’s role off stage but on stage, it was Satchel that owned it.

Unfortunately, the only thing that prevented it from being a truly captivating performance, was the shortcomings of the sound out the front on the night, and i couldnt help but think that my neck was sore from craning to see all the chicks being told to get their tits out, rather than the consistent headbanging i was expecting to be suffering from, post gig.

Satchel ripped it up however, and as the band delivered what they would surely deem as ‘hit after hit‘ – tracks like ‘Fat girl (thar she blows)’, ‘Turn out the lights’, the notorious ‘Asian Hooker,’ and the infamous ‘If you wanna be like Tiger Woods’ (fucking all the girls in the neighbourhood) off their latest album ‘Balls Out’ – introing almost every track with stories of breasts, bitches, Oxyconton and cocaine, all while virtually forcing any semi-willing female participant to get their boobies out, there wouldnt have been anyone in the venue capable of stifling a laugh at the hands of the onstage antics.

Who doesnt appreciate a bit of banter that sees a band being borderline abusive, like standup comics, and bringing everyone to rapture as we ‘make some noise‘ for anyone including ‘the guy that keeps adjusting our spotlights so evenly‘ to ‘the black guy we just spotted down there in the crowd!’ – ‘make some noise for the black guy!

And you cant say that those in the crowd that were asked upon didnt play their role in the hugely entertaining performance that this show really was either, bare breasts or not.

Up came more ‘classics’ like ‘Gold digging whore’, ‘I like drugs’ and ‘Tomorrow night’, from their latest ‘smash hit’ album ‘Balls Out’ (the band’s tongue-in-cheek mock ego leading them to label their own songs as ‘hits’) the shows half-way point then seeing Satch breaking into a lightning fast 5 minute guitar solo that saw him behind the drum kit as well, and once at his solo’s end, saw him gleefully announcing in his finest Cali surfer-drawl that ‘that was the fastest fucking solo ever dewwwwwd!’  Before he told the crowd to ‘make some noise for me!’  – We happily obliged.

Let it not be overlooked that this band also graced the stage with an extremely beautiful bass player in their entourage.  ‘Lexxi Foxxx‘ shimmied, pouted and high-kicked effortlessly, chiming in beautifully with backing vocals to reproduce the band’s studio harmonies with perfect falsettos as needed, as well as some thumping basslines to fill out the rhythm section driven by the very well oiled ‘Stix Zadinia‘ behind the drum kit, and Lexxi never losing his pout, or his blue-steel gaze over the crowd, able to constantly maintain his ‘look’ with a selection of handmirrors, eyeliner and other makeup, all stationed in his mobile makeup stand, just by his foldback.

bright lights and big hair

The fan on the floor nearby, allowing the band members –  especially Lexxi – to stand and have their hair swooshed in the ‘breeze’ that their majesty obviously commanded (even inside), reeked of a group that leaves no detail out when it comes to putting on a full show, even if it really ended up being a comedic performance of musical theatre for metalheads.

Rounding out their set with their Balls Out ballad ‘Weenie Ride’ and the band’s opener from their debut album ‘Feel the steel’ entitled ‘Death to all but metal’ (including lines such as ‘Fifty Cent’s a fag, so is Kanye West, shooting hot sperm on each other’s chest!), the Panthers knew they were leaving the crowd of filthy whores (that we’d all become) literally gagging for more.

It was surely all left to Michael Starr to perform his personal anthem (much to the disdain of some of the underage groupies on the mezzanine who’d clearly fallen in love with him throughout the course of the evening), declaring his private parts ‘Community property‘ to close the show (not before the groovy, riffy ‘17 girls in a row’), as the lights went up on a night that made up for what it lacked in sound, with a tonne of memorable, appreciable theatre.

More photos here, courtesy of findtheadrenaline photography

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