Equal parts burlesque and hair metal band, Steel Panther proved to the sold-out crowd at Auckland’s Powerstation that not only are they “hair”larious, but that they can seriously rock.
For the uninitiated, Steel Panther are a four-piece band from Los Angeles who parody the hair metal bands of the late 80s….bands like Skid Row, Ratt and Motley Crue. Along with the look and the sound, the band adds over-the-top sexualized lyrics in songs like Gold-Digging Whore, Fat Girl (Thar She Blows), Asian Hooker and 17 Girls In A Row. They are filthy and very funny.
The show started before the band even took the stage as a good portion of the crowd took it upon themselves to dress up like mutant hair metal bands themselves. It looked like a rock & roll Halloween.
Steel Panther arrived at 10pm and began with Supersonic Sex Machine, a tune from their latest album, Balls Out. After playing Tomorrow Night, the band took one of many extended breaks to talk to the crowd. Well, really it was an opportunity to deliver their comic shtick. Lead singer Michael Starr did most of the talking…he comes across like David Lee Roth’s dumber little brother. He was also the butt of guitarist Satchel’s jokes….”he’s 62-years-old, had 14 liposuctions, 2 hip replacements and 17 facelifts”. Satchel himself plays up his ego…”Let’s hear it for me” after a solo. Pretty boy bass player Lexxi Foxxx preens with a hand-held mirror…”when you’re that good looking you don’t have to be a good bass player”. And drummer Stix Zadinia is introduced as, “the best drummer in our band!”
Yes, what makes the whole Steel Panther thing work so well is that they are just as willing to that the piss out of themselves as the audience and the music. There were sexist, crude, juvenile, extremely non-PC comments from the band all night long, but the atmosphere was one of good fun…everyone was in on the joke. The females in the audience seemed to be having just as much fun as the guys and everyone knew all the words to the songs.
While the main focus of the show is on the humour, the band proved that they could play as well. Satchel’s solo spot was a particular high point, especially when he got behind the drum kit and played old Black Sabbath riffs from Iron Man and Paranoid on guitar and drums simultaneously.
Drummer Stix came out from to play keyboards on the heart-felt ballad, Weenie Ride, which got the crowd’s arms waving in the air. The band encored with favourites Community Property, 17 Girls In A Row and Death To All But Metal.
As the band noted themselves…”we have proven to be one of the top 50 heavy metal bands to ever play Auckland”. I might move them up to the top 25.