Steel Panther at Hammersmith Apollo
Much more than just a “parody” band, this wildly flamboyant “glam metal” foursome are actually extremely talented musicians with a knack for writing wonderful, soaring melodies and memorable sing-a-long choruses – all delivered with emphatic rock‘n’roll swagger by vocalist Michael Starr.
Two support acts preceded the main event – Wayward Sons and Inglorious – and by the time Panther drummer Stix Zadinia came out on stage at around 9.15, followed by his three bandmates, the capacity crowd – some of whom had come dressed in Lycra and wigs and carrying inflatable guitars – were more than ready to “feel the steel”.
Opening number Eyes of a Panther was suitably energetic and was superbly followed up by Goin’ in the Backdoor, a stand-out tune from the group’s most recent album, 2017’s Lower the Bar, one of their best records to date.
When it comes to combining what is essentially outrageous stand-up comedy with hard rocking tunes, no one does it quite like Steel Panther, and what came next was a series of withering put downs between the four members, ludicrously far-fetched yet amusing “anecdotes” and uncensored interaction with attention-seeking members of the audience.
“I asked Michael [Starr] to join my band in 1981, when he was only 35,” joked outlandish guitarist Satchel, who then said of preening and pouting bass player Lexxi Foxxx: “Sometimes I look over there and I have to remind myself that Farrah Fawcett’s dead.”
The music continued and the rockers pulled some gems out of the hat – notably Wasted Too Much Time and Poontang Boomerang – before Satchel performed an extended guitar solo alone on stage, including riffs from some of rock’s best-known songs, such as Rock You Like a Hurricane, Iron Man and Sweet Child O’ Mine.
A very happy girl called Jackie was pulled out of the crowd to be serenaded by the melodic Weenie Ride, which came after the equally brilliant That’s When You Came In. Considerably more women were then invited up on stage, as is tradition at a Steel Panther gig, for 17 Girls in a Row and Gloryhole. “That’s the most girls we’ve ever had on stage,” announced Starr afterwards.
One of the band’s best songs, Community Property, was saved until the first song of the encore, and it was a joy to hear what seemed like the entire crowd singing along. No room for some of their other top tunes – Fat Girl, The Burden of Being Wonderful, I Got What You Want, etc. – tonight, though, sadly.
“How about we lock all the doors and play till 6am?” asked Starr at one point. That wouldn’t have been necessary, but it would have been nice to have heard three or four more knockout tracks from Steel Panther’s impressive back catalogue.
Photo: Frank Schwichtenberg
For further information and future events visit the Steel Panther website here.
Watch the video for Poontang Boomerang here: