With a new album titled “All You Can Eat,” now out for the world to devour, they’ve begun trekking along the US, with one of those stops hitting New York City last week at Irving Plaza. Having seen Steel Panther live once before, I had a good idea what I was in for, and it seemed many of the other fans in attendance did as well.
One thing I noticed right away was the amount of fans “dressed” for the occasion. About a year ago when I saw SP, I saw maybe one or two members of the audience dressed in an “80s heavy metal” look; meaning guys wore ripped jeans, jean jackets, big puffy wigs and head bands, while ladies wore… well, next to nothing. And that little bit of nothing was black. This time around, those dressed in this unique style crowded almost the entire back bar of Irving Plaza.
The only support for the tour comes from a newer rock band named Future Villains. With a heavy metal/hard rock sound not far from that of Steel Panther’s, they seem to be a great blend to tour alongside the Panther. Well… at least when things work.
For much of Future Villains’ performance, their guitarist was plagued with problems with his guitar amp, with his tone constantly cutting out mid song. After cutting out mid way through their second song, Steel Panther’s guitar tech, Kurt, was on the case, and managed to get things working again… temporarily. By the fourth song, the band had gotten used to the fact that things just weren’t going to work smoothly, and the bass, drums and vocals kept going through their songs, with or without guitar.
With Kurt nearby, the band managed to get through their set with only a few more hiccups. They even played a decent cover of Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” that while not perfect, still sounded solid. One plus though, the lead guitar didn’t cut out at all through the minute and a half long guitar solo, which would have been devastating to their set.
With the crowd a bit more warmed up, they played their new single, “Reject” which had at least a few of the members of the crowd singing along some “wohhohhhs” too. I feel like I would have really liked Future Villains, but with the amount of guitar problems they had, I unfortunately just couldn’t get in to it.
A little later than I expected, Steel Panther took the stage at 9:30pm. Opening up with the first track from All You Can Eat, entitled “Pussywhipped,” the band quickly brightened my mood.
One thing that I really love about Steel Panther is not only are they a band that plays some music with a bit of comedic flair, they’re a band that gets up on stage, and entertains. Helping to drill in the “80s glam band” persona, between songs, they tend to ad-lib some comedy about living the hard rock lifestyle.
Pointing into the crowd, guitarist Satchel shouted to a random audience member, “Dude, don’t flash your balls and try to tell everyone its a vagina. Its not cool when your balls look like a vagina.“. He then followed the statement with an impromptu jam and titled it, “Balls look like a Vagina“. “That’s a song I’m writing for the new One Direction album,” he said. This is the kind of stuff that I can’t make up, because in context, sounds hilarious at a Steel Panther show.
During the set, vocalist Michael Starr went on to ask, “How many here have seen Steel Panther before?“. There were quite a few cheers. “Ok, ok… How many are seeing us for the first time?“. A few more cheers. “Rockin… Now, after tonight, how many are never going to see us again?“. Nearly the entire room cheered… in on the joke of course. Or maybe some of the audience was telling the truth, and they were just easily offended by Steel Panther’s dirty jokes.
I felt like the set list blended together quite nicely, with a solid mix of popular songs and ones from the new album. Mid-way through the set they rocked out to “Party Like It’s the End of the World,” the first single from All You Can Eat. By this time, plenty of the crowd was singing along… Or at least the crowd had thinned to the fans, as those who hated what they saw had left early.
One of the most dedicated Fanthers (the nick name for Steel Panther fans) was at the show – all the way from Japan. Maki, who they met during their VIP session a little earlier, had the honor of receiving an all-star treatment. Before “The Burden of Being Wonderful,” they brought her on stage, and sang the song as a special dedication to her.
Shortly after, they brought up any girl that was willing to flash the crowd, and played their latest single, “Gloryhole.” Nothing brings groups of people together quite like this song… And for all the dirtiest of reasons.
As always, Steel Panther put on a fantastic show to what seemed to be a sold out New York crowd, with a perfect mix of hilarity and rocking. Their humor may not be for the easily offended, but it sure clicks for me, and it clicks in all the right ways.