Steel Panther – Headliner
Heavy Metal Rules European Tour 2019 – leg 1 –
Wayward Sons – Support Act
26/1 – 2020
Live review and pictures by: Anders Sandvall
It’s a new year and the first show out for me this decade was Steel Panther’s Heavy Metal Rules tour which landed in Copenhagen, Denmark at the end of January. Their brand new album HEAVY METAL RULES is their fifth, and in my opinion not their best work. As always, the band’s lyrics revolve around partying, drugs, girls, sex, and boobies and is not for the weak hearted or people that take rock and metal dead seriously. I see the band as a fun act and don’t take their lyrics serious at all; I take it with a laugh and have nothing against the fact they make fun of the metal scene. The tour began in Estonia and traveled on to Scandinavia after which it’s time for the guys to head over to the UK and the rest of Europe. The band is already scheduled to open for KISS at their Stockholm show later on this year.
This show was almost sold out with only a few tickets left when I checked the venue’s website. Amager Bio is an old cinema and holds about 1,300 people. The opening act, Wayward Sons, comes from the UK and have released two album so far titled GHOSTS OF YET TO COME from 2017 and THE TRUTH AIN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE from October 2019. The band is run by the former Gun and Little Angels frontman Toby Jepson.
The doors opened at 7, with Wayward Sons scheduled to be on stage at 8pm. As always when I go to shows I arrived well in time, about one hour before the doors opened. Time flew by pretty fast and I overheard that quite a few Swedish fans had crossed the bridge in order to see Steel Panther. It was a while since I last visited Amager Bio so it was nice to be back again. There was nothing but instruments, gear, and backdrop on stage when we got inside and we now only had to wait for the evening to start.
A lot of people started to show up and many wore spandex tights and puffy wigs in honor of Steel Panther. The majority of fans were guys, which was a bit strange. The last few times I’ve seen the band the crowd usually consisted 50/50 guys and girls. Maybe the ladies have left the Steel Panther ship and moved on to other bands. Women is a bit smarter than men and probably gotten a bit tired of the constant joking around with sex and boobs that’s Steel Panther’s trademark.
The band kicked off their show with “Any Other Way” which was followed straight away by “Don’t Wanna Go”. Jepson, Westell and Wood moved around on the stage as the fans gave the band a warm welcome. Jepson thanked the fans for the support saying, “We are Wayward Sons and how many out there have heard about us before? OK, about six of you”, he laughed and said that it was “better than no one, we are honored to be opening for Steel Panther and our next song could be about them, here is “As Black as Sin”. Wayward Sons are:
Toby Jepson – lead vocals, guitar
Nic Westell – bass
Sam Wood – guitar
Phil Martini – drums
Dave Kemp – keyboards
“Ghost”, taken from the band’s debut album followed. Jepson tried hard to get the crowd going but unfortunately it didn’t go too well. Still, the band seemed to be having fun on stage, which was fun to see. “OK, I know it’s Sunday and all but are you having a good time?”, Jepson asked, “Are you ready for “Little White Lies”?.
“Alive” and a change of guitar followed as Jepson said, “We are Wayward Sons from the UK and it’s great to be in Denmark tonight”. The next song up was taken from the new album, and it was the title track, “The Truth Ain’t What It Used To Be”. Jepson had the fans jumping a bit in the middle after which he introduced Kemp on keyboard who threw a solo but it was really hard to hear it amongst the other instruments playing at the same time. In “Small Talk” Jepson wanted the see the crowd’s hands in the air and since the song included some really extended guitar parts, I kind of lost my interest there for a while.
“I raise my glass of water to you who have come to see us so early tonight”, Jepson said, “Make sure to buy some of our merchandise before you leave the club tonight!” The next song was “Joke’s On You” and if the show started a bit lame, it got better by the middle and the fans started to open up in “Until the End”, but by then the show was over. The band thanked the crowd again and their 45 minutes was over.
Overall Wayward Sons did a good job on stage and I think their material felt solid. Too bad the crowd wasn’t feeling the same, which slowed down the show. The band surprised me in a positive way with their English rock n’ roll music.
Any Other Way
Don’t Wanna Go
As Black as Sin
Little White Lies
The Truth Ain’t What It Used To Be
Joke’s On You
Until the End
The crew changed the backdrop and gear, and it was soon time for Steel Panther to make their grand entrance on Danish soil.
I found the first single out from their new album “All I Wanna Do Is Fuck (Myself Tonight)” to be pretty boring and to be honest, the entire album feels a bit sloppy, generic, almost like the guys are totally stuck in juvenile lyric department. On the previous albums I think the band wrote some pretty funny lyrics with a little finesse but this album they seemed to lose the fun and juvenile sense of humor. HEAVY METAL RULES feels tired and like the guys rushed to get out an album.
After 25 minutes the club got dark and the stage lit up, the intro to the Van Halen song “Everybody Wants Some!” followed by a second intro came on which meant it was soon time for Steel Panther to climb on stage.
As soon as the members showed up the fans went wild and started banging their heads in to first song “Eyes of a Panther”. Singer Michael Starr moved around on stage wearing a pair of huge sunglasses working up the crowd. The fans hardly had time to catch their breath when “Let Me Cum In” came on as the second song. The band consists of:
Michael Starr – lead vocals
Satchel – guitar
Lexxi Foxxx – bass
Stix Zadinia – drums
Starr thanked the fans for being there and then Satchel took the mic saying the band has some crazy unemployed fans in Copenhagen. “We’ve got a brand new album out called HEAVY METAL RULES, which has sold 200 copies now. Let me introduce to you some of the guys that I hired to be in the band with me. This is the best singer in the world, and no it’s not Vince Neil, it’s Michael Starr. We came early to Copenhagen today and we met a guy that seemed cool so we treated him with some cocaine. If you squinted your eyes then Starr looks like David Lee Roth!” Starr responded with, “Yeah, like a fat David Lee Roth!”, while the band played a few notes of “You Really Got Me” by Van Halen. Satchel said, “No wait, you look like Bret Michaels” to which Starr said, “Well, I maybe look like him but I feel like a thin Vince Neil”.
“Let me now introduce the band’s coolest guy, our bass player Lexxi Foxxx”. Foxxx said the venue was sold out this night and with HEAVY METAL RULES the band takes back heavy metal. “At the back we have our drummer Stix, who does a mean impression of the drummer in Def Leppard. Look at him”, Satchel said while Stix played drums with only one arm. “I wanna hear you all shout “fuck””< Satchel continued, while urging the fans during “All I Wanna Do Is Fuck (Myself Tonight)”.
“Thank you”, Satchel said, “I have read about Copenhagen on Wikipedia and you’ve got the most hookers in the world according to that site and especially “Asian Hooker”!” The fans went crazy and started to sing a long and clap their hands. “I want everyone to scream for all the ladies in the house”, Starr said and the fans ventilated their lungs. “Now you’re all going to witness a beautiful solo”, Satchel said. “This is going to be our anthem for tonight, it’s a hair solo”, he said and picked up a leaf blower from a crew member. He shouted for Foxxx to come over to him and while Zadinia accompanied Foxxx on drums he did a bass solo while Satchel held up the leaf blower to his head which made his hair blew. “I wanna have sex”, Satchel said and the song “Party Like Tomorrow is the End of the World” followed. The song is one of the band’s biggest hits taken from the 2014 album ALL YOU CAN EAT. Fans started to crowd surf and Starr invited the crowd to a sing a long in the middle of the song.
Sure the band have a not so clean approach but they all are skilled musicians that all have the gift of talking (except for Foxxx who mostly puts make up on while looking at himself in the mirror between songs). They are all experienced musicians that don’t take themselves or the industry seriously and maybe that is why they’ve made it so far. They balance on a thin line between what’s OK to say and do and total madness but they do it well and it works.
“There’s a girl who is a fan and has seen about 600 shows with us, everyone’s slept with her, even Stix, and despite that she’s from Denmark she’s a “Poontang Boomerang” Satchel said. The crowd really liked the song and by now it was quite obvious that the fans loved the older songs more than the newer ones. Foxxx wanted the fans to scream for the band and for guitarist Satchel who threw a solo while Foxxx and Starr walked off the stage. The solo was an ordinary one and at the end of it the rest of the band joined in and it was time for “Fuck Everybody”.
It was now time for a song with Zadinia on keyboard and it was the last song on HEAVY METAL RULES in “I Ain’t Buying What You’re Selling”. The ballad brought down the tempo of the show a lot and when the song was over Starr asked Satchel what they were going to do now. “Well, let’s take bring a girl up on stage”. Starr picked out a girl from the crowd that came up on stage and it was time for the usual part of the show when the band serenades the woman they brought up on stage. One by one the guys sang a made up lyric to her. The only one who didn’t sing was Foxxx who said he was too busy looking in the mirror. The song ended and the guys thanked the girl for joining them.
“Weenie Ride” taken from 2011’s BALLS OUT followed and the guys dedicated the song to the girl. Starr circled around her while he was singing the song and when she became a little handsy with him he forgot the lyrics and actually looked a little embarrassed. Satchel encouraged the crowd to wave their arms back and forth during the song and sing “weenie, weenie, weenie ride”. Starr gave the mic to the girl who sang along and when the song was over Satchel wanted the crowd to give a warm hand to “Michael’s new girlfriend”.
Satchel wanted more girls to join the band on stage but they had to be over 14 years old which is the legal age in Denmark according to him. The attempt to get girls on stage didn’t go so well but when Starr said that the only thing they had to do was dance around more ladies teamed up and finally there were a bunch of women on stage with the band. “Party All Day (Fuck All Night)” and the mandatory “17 Girls in a Row” followed as the women all danced. In the middle of the first song a crew member came out handing the girls bracelets which I guess was backstage passes as a thank you for helping out the band. Amongst the girls there were two guys that snuck up on stage and when Starr noticed them he said it was the first time the band had gotten up guys on the stage. He handed one of the guys the mic and let him sing a little bit of “17 Girls in a Row”. Satchel asked how many of the guys in the crowd brought their wives or girlfriends to see the show, “Bad move”, he said and laughed, “You all know what we are going to do to your loved ones. If you had taken your spouse to the show you have to sing a long in the next song with us, here is “Community Property”.
“Before you all head home we want you to take a look at our merchandise store, we’ve got some unique drum skins we’re selling so make sure to buy our shit”. Starr took the mic thanking the fans for coming saying “It’s because of the fans that metal still are alive, I want you all to kick Justin Bieber’s ass shouting “Death to all but Metal”. Needless to say the fans exploded when they heard the last song for the night and everyone sang along.
The song ended the 90 minute show but the fans wanted to hear more and started instantly to shout for encores. The crowd shouted for the song “Gloryhole” and the band swiftly came back on stage thanking the fans once again and played the overwhelming request. Starr had on a hat which he threw to Zadinia who caught it with his drum stick. Starr introduced the band again and then thanked Copenhagen for an amazing night. That song ended the night that lasted about 10 minutes more with the encore making the show clock in on a total of about 1 hour and 40 minutes.
To be honest, Steel Panther have a routine and they do it well. They’re skilled musicians and have been touring the world and have the ability to take on a crowd. When you walk out from a Steel Panther show you’re always happy and smiling. The set list included only three new songs which was strange since bands always wants to market their latest release. Even though the talks between songs are funny, I wish the band focused more on the music. Some parts where the band jokes around are too long and the show lost intensity and pace. I’ve seen the band 7 or 8 times now and their show includes mostly the same jokes with minor variations; it’s time to come up with some new stuff. With that said if you go to a Steel Panther show you pretty now what you’re going to get and this show was no exception, and yes, I smiled a lot in between the songs.
A special guest show with Kiss is already booked for the summer in Stockholm, Sweden so I guess the band is coming back to Europe for some shows and fetivals.