When it comes to your typical rags to riches stories in the annals of Rock and Roll there is only one thing that surpasses them and that is a good old fashioned “coming back from the brink of obscurity tale”. If you don’t know what I mean by this, well I am referring to those bands who were on a meteoric rise to the top and then without warning totally vanished from the face of the earth and eventually found themselves a mere memory. Such would be the case with Hollywood California’s Steel Panther who failed to show up for their own record label showcase over two decades ago, and yet here we were both fan and media personality alike gathered in the Canal Room in NYC for the bands triumphant return. Knowing their back story, I was almost hard pressed to believe that they would even show up and with today being April Fool’s Day as well, I thought all of us were going to be pranked for the sake of Heavy Metal urban legendry. Fortunately I was wrong in this assumption and the packed house was eager to see these returning heroes for the genre back in all of their pompous and glittery bluster. The show was set to feature the bands full original lineup and that includes Michael Starr (vocals), Satchel (guitarist), Lexxi Foxx (bass) and Stix Zadinia (drums) and by guaranteeing this were bound to deliver a concert of phoenix like proportions.
Back in the day the band was known to many for being true Rock Icons that inspired almost everyone on the scene and each of these acolytes managed to gain some level of success by using the teachings that Steel Panther offered them on the stage. Now some 20 years later it is Steel Panthers turn to grab the brass ring and finally reach the fans that have been dying to see something happen for them. This sure reminds me of “The Story Of Anvil” when I stop to think about it, but the Rock and Roll world is funny like that and there are all too many similar stories in its book. The band hit the stage with an amazing level of electricity and they still looked fantastic when compared to older performance photos that exist of them. It was almost like they stepped out of that decade so long ago and time warped into our own frame of reality. Their opening number would be the classic “Death To All But Metal” and this had the crowd on their feet and rocking and of course anyone who remembers Steel Panther in concert knows full well that they interact with their audience quite a bit during the stage and they do not care at all about what they say when they are up there on the boards. It was very early in the set when Starr pointed out about how “too many guys were up front” and that the band wanted to see some breasts, so he made the dudes move back and the ladies move in. The band members then taunted some of the girls by saying that they remember them from back in the day when they were groupies. Steel Panther in concert is sometimes like watching a very offensive or abrupt comedian because the language is not for everyone nor is the subject matter which covered wide ranges of oral gratification to sleazy sex in the backstage area. No one personality type is safe as they offered up their ode to heavy girls with “Fat Girl (Thar She Blows)”, a song that was prefaced about how good the fat women take care of the band by feeding them and letting them all crash in their apartments. Ahh the Rock Star life.
The band was never known for being rocket scientists and was amazed and impressed when they realized that a couple of African American gentlemen were in the room. They stopped their performance for a moment to do some rapping and then told the girls that if their opportunity to be with the band was missed that they should seek out these guys because they are built “like this” (demonstrated to an outstretched arm). Musically they were on point and didn’t seem to lose an ounce of their luster as guitarist Satchel shredded up the strings before giving everyone a lesson in oral sex by using his microphone. The musician would also deliver a guitar solo that featured the opening riffs of notable tunes by Sabbath, Metallica, Deep Purple and The Sound Of Music. A brief “Hair Solo” was delivered by the constantly primping Lexxi and this led us into a song that the guys wrote for Bon Jovi so many years ago with “Living On A Prayer”. As the night progressed Michael informed the crowd that he heard in his ear monitor that Anthrax’s own Scott Ian was in the crowd and would be joining them onstage. The guitarist came up to perform “Asian Hooker” and could not seem to keep a straight face during the impromptu jam session. The band crowd participation aspect kept on going when they called up a pretty young thing to the stage who seemed to be adept at even confusing them all the more. This led to more ranting about non English speaking girls and while one might feel sorry for the girl, she was really holding her own against the band and was to be admired for it. They then called up a whole slew of lovelies to come join them on stage to dance during “Sweet Child ‘O Mine”.
The mellower side of the band was seen in full view during “Girl From Oklahoma” which is their acoustic ballad and after this one the guys announced that if you weren’t someone who was interested in servicing them after the set, they wanted to let you know that some good cocaine would also be for sale in the back. Talk about being an enterprising outfit. The night was drawing to a close as they delivered another cover with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin” and this had the entire place singing alone and after a short breather the finale would come with Motley Crue’s rabble rousing “Kick Start My Heart”. The bands long awaited CD will be entitled “Feel The Steel” and shall come care of Universal Republic. It’s sure to awaken the Spirit Of Classic 80’sMetal, offend the weak and fill the bands backstage area with eager suitors. If the music they played tonight is any sign of the coolness and insanity to be found on the CD, then I am sure we are all in for a Glam Metal treat like never before. Welcome back boys, we hope you stick around this time.
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Official Web Site: http://www.steelpantherrocks.com
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