Death To All But Metal – Steel Panther rocks the Sunset Strip
June 24, 2013
House of Blues, West Hollywood, CA
Review by Metalette
I love hair metal, and I’m not afraid to say it. My love for it goes back to discovering Mӧtley Crϋe at 13 years old, and delving into the whole world of the 80s glam scene as a result. It was pure rock’n’roll fun, and I got my best friends into it, and we ran around like little hair-metal chickies and thumbed our noses at all the kids listening to Panic! At the Disco. So I consider hair metal to be my metal “roots”, if you will, because it steered me on the path of good music at an impressionable age. Now, the only thing that makes me happier than seeing guys in kilts and war-paint onstage is seeing a stage full of guys with giant hair and shiny spandex pants. I’m even the proud owner of the “American Hair Metal encyclopedia”, which will always have a cherished space on my decorative bookshelf.
There’s a current hair metal scene that’s cropped up – mostly in Scandinavia – which I think is totally rad, because these guys are for real. They’re serious. And I like to take my hair metal seriously, darn it. (well, not too seriously, because you are supposed to have fun!) As far as current hair bands go, though, I hadn’t yet given Steel Panther much of a listen. It’s not that I don’t have a sense of humor, it’s just that if I want to listen to hair metal, I’m not inclined to listen a gag-band wearing human-hair wigs.
Steel Panther’s been playing every Monday night at the House of Blues this summer, so finally I went to see what they were really all about. Well, much to no one’s surprise I’m sure, I can tell you that they were indeed a parody band, but of delightfully epic proportions. They were excellent actors as well as highly talented musicians! At least half the show was more like a stand-up comedy routine done in Bret Michael’s old wardrobe than a rock concert, but since the Steel Panther guys were ridiculously well-rehearsed and professional crowd-hecklers, I enjoyed the copious amounts of banter.
Probably my favorite element of their act was the bassist, Lexxi Foxxx. He had a huge, 3-mirror vanity set-up on the side of the stage, complete with curling irons, Aqua Net, hand-mirrors (which he spent a lot of time looking in), and various other hair- and makeup- gadgetry. He kept a perpetual pout on his face throughout the show and alternated between primping his hair and putting on lipgloss every 10 seconds. The guy was a most convincing dum-dum pretty boy and always a laugh to look over at on his side of the stage. You know, the side with the travel-sized beauty parlor.
Singer Michael Starr looked like he could have been Vince Neil’s little brother – and did he have a voice in him or what! – and guitarist Satchel was, despite being a total ham, an incredibly talented guitar player. He performed an extensive solo in true rock show fashion, combining original solo stuff with famous guitar riffs from songs like “Crazy Train”, “Master of Puppets”, and “Sweet Child o’ Mine”. And he did all of this while standing behind the drum kit and keeping a beat on the bass.
I was standing in the front, so not only did I get plenty of Starr and Satchel’s spandex-clad “equipment” in my face – which I was a little less into than some of the other girls, but hey, it certainly seemed like an authentic glam show at that point – I also got a marvelous view of all the guests and antics they had onstage. Like Satchel’s enormous and surly body-guard, the band’s campy, synchronized high-kicks à la David Lee Roth, and lots of drunken girls that danced sloppily to songs they didn’t know and flashed their goods any chance they got.
Steel Panther played several original songs that I’ve heard the names of before, like “Death to All But Metal”, “Community Property”, and “Fat Girl (Thar She Blows)”. Though the lyrics are impossible to take seriously, the songs themselves are really catchy, anthem-y, bona fide glam metal. But even better – for me, anyway – than their own songs were the great covers they played, one of which was a spot-on performance of Van Halen’s “Jump”. Rikki Rockett of Poison was hanging out at the venue, so naturally the Steel Panther guys badgered him into playing drums for a few cover songs. They ended up playing Poison’s “Nothin’ But a Good Time”, “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn”, “Talk Dirty to Me”, and “I Want Action”. Rock and roll!
I didn’t know what to expect going into it, but it turned out to be such a show, man. A total delight. Steel Panther’s act may have been a parody, but it was also a celebration of the legendary hair-band era that I cherish so dearly. On my way out, I even bumped into DJ Ashba! Long live the Sunset Strip.