Steel Panther create one of the most enjoyable concert experiences ever. In fact, this heavy metal/glam metal/hair metal/hard rock band put on not just a concert, but a really really good show!
Sunday night was the second time I’ve seen Steel Panther. I had regrettably missed their sideshow with Alter Bridge so had to resort to a meagre 40 minutes of heavy hilarity at Soundwave. Steel Panther were the band I was looking forward to the most, although to be honest that Soundwave line-up wasn’t really doing it for me. Everyone I know that saw them thought they were killer, with awesome songs and hilarious on-stage banter. They are the only band that can talk so much without annoying the audience, even with only 40 minutes.
I did have high hopes for Steel Panther’s first headlining show in Australia, and I have to say, it was even better than I was expecting!!
Opening act The Art, an Australian band, played a tough gig. People go to Steel Panther’s show to see Steel Panther and nothing else. They weren’t bad. There was even a drum solo in there, which was actually pretty good. I hope these guys find success later on, because they played well.
Steel Panther opened with what I was missing the most from Soundwave, “Supersonic Sex Machine”. It works so well as an opener. It pumped up the crowd and then the band wasted no time, playing the next song, “Tomorrow Night”. This song has a perfect chorus to sing along to, and was a taste of things to come.
Then the band talked for 5 minutes and it was hilarious. These guys can crack good jokes. Then they played “Fat Girl”, the first song in the set where the girls in the audience started flashing their breasts. It was also the first great sing along of the night, with the crowd singing louder than the band at times.
All four members of the band brought their 110% to the gig, and you could tell. Didn’t matter whether they were playing songs off their debut Feel the Steel or the latest album Balls Out; Satchel’s guitar riffs were killer, Michael Starr’s vocals sounded amazing and Lexxi Foxx on the bass worked well with Stix Zadinia to create a fantastic rhythm section.
I’ve never seen a concert where the crowd sang the words loud to every song, but Steel Panther’s audience came pretty damn close and it was spectacular. The vibe created by the first three songs continued throughout the entirety of the main set, with moshing, sing alongs and topless girls on stage. Things did slow down a bit with the ballads “If You Really Really Love Me” and “Girl From Oklahoma”, the latter of which may have been one of the funniest songs of the night. A girl got on stage and sat with Starr; he dedicated the song to her and it was absolutely priceless.
My favourite Steel Panther song is “Just Like Tiger Woods” and I remember one downside I picked up on when I saw the band at Soundwave. That song has up to 3 or 4 guitar parts, but when played live Satchel is the only one on the guitar – no backup guitarists standing in the shadows of the stage. I was definitely able to tell that something was missing during the second verse when the extra guitars are obvious. This took away from the live performance of the song. That was at Soundwave, however Sunday night I was singing every single word with the crowd that I didn’t even notice the missing guitar part. This band is legendary…as long as you give them a headlining set.
Satchel’s guitar solo was really cool. This band started out just playing covers every week, and this solo was a call back to those days. The first half of the solo consisted of all the guitar tricks you could think of back in the ‘80s. The second half saw Satchel jumping behind the drum kit and hitting the bass drum pedal while going through a variety of classic guitar riffs. I heard riffs from Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple and Judas Priest. He also played a quick classical piece. It was absolutely awesome.
If there are going to be pornstar signings at any concert, it had to be at Steel Panther’s, and the band would be nuts to miss the opportunity to bring them on stage. During the last couple songs of the main set, the adult actresses joined girls from the audience on stage and they were all over each other. These two songs, “Party All Day” and “Death to All But Metal” with the girls on stage and the crowd yelling out the lyrics, probably best represented what this band is about. It was the pinnacle of what the fans came to see.
There was still so much excitement when the band came on for the encore. They resumed playing with “Community Property”, possibly the greatest power ballad of all time…and possibly the greatest sing along ever. The crowd won the battle with the PA with this song. It’s one of those songs that everyone in the venue knows.
The band finished up with a couple more moshers, “Eyes of a Panther” and “17 Girls in a Row”. There was plenty of crowd surfing and it was clear that the band had ended on a high note.
I must say, I thought the sound was great and the lighting was cool too. While there were no screens, the lights added plenty to the show and it seemed that nearly all the songs had lighting to match. It’s clear that the band had the best people working behind closed doors.
I will definitely not be forgetting this show because it was one of the most memorable gigs I’ve been to in a long time. The entertainment continued between songs, with hilarious dialogue from the band. The crowd clearly bought these tickets to see a Steel Panther show, and the band fed on the crowd’s energy to create one of the most fun times I’ve had at a concert ever. Honestly, the only flaw I can think of is that they didn’t play “Weenie Ride”, but I’m not sure if that’s fair. Obviously if you don’t like Steel Panther you wouldn’t go, but I really, really recommend that the rest of you go buy tickets to these shows next time they come to Australia. Do buy their albums too, because they capture the energy and style of the ‘80s so well. I paid less than $70 for this gig, and if I paid $150 I still would’ve had my money’s worth. I’m dead serious, if the band had a second Melbourne show this tour I would’ve been there. If someone asked me what bands that I believed everyone must see live before they die (only the bands I have actually seen count), Steel Panther would definitely be one of them, alongside U2 and AC/DC.
Setlist below, with my favourites in bold.
In the Future
Supersonic Sex Machine
Fat Girl (Thar She Blows)
La Grange snippet (ZZ Top cover)
That’s What Girls Are For
Just Like Tiger Woods
If You Really, Really Love Me
Girl From Oklahoma
Turn Out the Lights
Party All Day (Fuck All Night)
Death to All But Metal
Eyes of a Panther
17 Girls in a Row