Sacramento, CA – On a chilly Friday night during a respite between nasty wet-weather onslaughts, Ace of Spades in Sacramento, CA played host to a different kind of nasty, in the form of a deliciously scandalous performance by outrageous rockers Steel Panther. Playing to a sold-out crowd, the Los Angeles-based quartet presented a show that was more than just a grand tribute to one of the wildest music genres of recent history. It took the best qualities of the legends of 80’s glam metal, threw in a helping of unapologetic adult content and relentless humor, put it all in blender, and turned it up to 11 in a way that Spinal Tap would be proud of.
Launching their set with “Goin’ in the Backdoor”, the opening track from their 2017 album Lower The Bar, Steel Panther established quickly that they would have eagerly tried to reach the top of the Parents Music Resource Center “Filthy 15”, had they existed in the era that inspired them. The band didn’t tiptoe around when it came to notorious and politically-incorrect nature of their music, and instead were eager to test just how far beyond they could go. The tune “Asian Hooker” could be considered the most controversial of their songs, but it doesn’t get omitted from performance in an effort to make their show more palatable; instead, it’s a recurring part of the setlist and a true crowd favorite. Another fan choice is “17 Girls in a Row”, which is their hallmark of audience participation. Steel Panther’s tradition is to invite any woman in the audience to come on stage and dance with them during this song, the only limit being the capacity of the stage. Given how tightly the crowd was packed into the venue, I commend anyone who made it to stage that wasn’t within five feet of the front bar.
Some might call Steel Panther a parody band because of how over-the-top they are, even for the insane standards of the 80’s rock scene, but one thing that is no joke is the musical talent of the group, and seeing them live and in the flesh only reinforces this fact. Don’t let that dildo on the drum set fool you, drummer Stix knows how to work those rhythms. Michael Starr’s vocals and frontman presence are top-notch, newly-minted bassist Spyder rules the lower strings, and Satchel’s guitar talent shines through whether he is soloing or not. Steel Panther executes on musicianship, and if you take nothing else seriously about them, their level of legitimate talent is something that warrants sincere respect.
The hilarious banter between the Panthers during song breaks is as cutting and precise as its musicianship. The humor is politically NOT correct, no-holds-barred, and as perverse and excess friendly as the music they perform, leaving fans laughing out loud. With that said, the band mostly limits the most vicious of their comments to each other, with rare exceptions. One standout was a wild story about a homeless person who turned out to be Vince Neil, who was “supposed” to show up for the show, but of course did not. Another was Michael’s brief appearance as Ozzy Osbourne, including an impersonation of him biting the head off a stuffed bat. Lastly, there was the clearly suggestive interaction with an enthusiastic female volunteer from the audience who became a part of their performance of the wildly racy ballad “Girl from Oklahoma”.
The night closed out with “Death to All But Metal” a glorious hip-thrusting, head-banging rant against every single other genre of music that had everyone’s hands in the air. It was the perfect closer on a night of debauchery and hilarity, served on a platter of kickass musicianship.
Steel Panther is currently on the road leading up to the release of their new album, On The Prowl, coming out on February 24th. Two songs from the new record are available on a variety of platforms in the meantime, and their social media is waiting to invite you to a party that never ends.
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Show Date: January 6, 2023