August 4, 2010
There are bands and then there are entertainers. Steel Panther just happen to be both, as was evident in the band’s August 4 stop in Vancouver at the Commodore Ballroom. On this night Steel Panther were the biggest band in the universe (and no I’m not talking about what they seem to think they have in their pants). It was a night of melodic metal, glam, naked girls and sex.
Even the opening act, Stink Mitt, were all about sex and bravado. Stink Mitt is a ball of talent, although a little out of character for a Steel Panther show. The Surrey, BC female rap duo have a strong sense of sound, with blistering free-style raps and a surprising amount of R&B flavour. Although explicit in their content, the girls got the goods and can belt out some sweet sounding vocals. Packed with energy, a team of wacky dancers and a DJ dressed up as a surgeon, Stink Mitt would have been better suited for the upcoming Lady Gaga show, but the crowd respected their energy and ambition. It’s too bad I wasn’t closer to catch a glimpse of the “camel toe.”
Steel Panther, on the other hand, have become a regular in Vancouver over the summer – performing a gig in the city each month – and it’s always to a sold-out crowd. And from what we saw on stage, it’s no wonder they are a sell out. The sexually driven metal-heads are premiere entertainers who live their image to the max. Think of all the best 80s hair bands rolled up into one unique comedy act. Everything about the band is big. Big hair, big attitude, big sound, big songs and big attitude. And they’ve even got big balls (for having the guts to do a cover of the Backstreet Boys I Want It That Way as their new single).
I went to the show as a Steel Panther virgin, having had other reporters cover the last couple shows, but I left feeling like a Steel Panther veteran. And if that’s the way everyone feels when they leave a Panther show, then these guys will be the biggest band in the universe in no time.
Performing several tracks from their album Feel The Steel, the band also added a few select covers, including, Motley Crue’s Live Wire and probably the best live version of Panama I’ve ever heard. Their version of the song sounded better and more authentic than Van Hagar could have ever done it. The only thing that might have sounded better was the 1984 Van Halen tour.
Panther originals like Community Property, Asian Hooker, Shocker, Fat Girl and Death To All But Metal are sexual and bold and that’s the way the audience loves it. When you add several topless women and one girl who was brave enough to bare it all, it was fanatical.
The bottom line comes down to the basics of Steel Panther. What sets this band apart from the rest is pure talent. Behind the makeup, hair, flashy clothes and the comedy, lies a band that can really play well.
Guitarist Satchel handled the songs like a rock God, bassist Lexxi Foxxx, who’s the prettiest of the band, hammers on the bass with fury and drummer Stix Zadinia is as solid as they get. Meanwhile, frontman Michael Starr has charisma, the ability to command an audience and solid vocal chops. In fact, the band’s harmonies sounded impressive all around. It was hard to tell if the background vocals were tracked, but in the end it did really matter anyway.
A great show is a great show, but when the concert crosses that line into amazing, then it must be a Steel Panther show.