Steel Panther with The Wild! at the Commodore Ballroom, 3/15/18
While it might be easy to take a stab at the genre of a show from the attire of the line-up gathering outside a venue, rarely is there a crowd that onlookers can predict with such certainty down to the exact band as Steel Panther. Thursday night marked the first of three consecutive Steel Panther shows at the Commodore Ballroom, and from early evening Granville Street and the surrounding bars were awash with spandex, backcombs, animal print, and headbands.
Opening for Steel Panther were Kelowna rock ‘n’ roll band The Wild!, who dressed almost entirely in matching denim vests and played around with beer bongs on stage. The band worked the crowd by shouting, “It’s Thursday night, how many people here have gotta work in the morning?” This was met with a cheer. “How many people in Vancouver just don’t give a fuck?” the band shouted back and the crowd erupted into a louder cheer this time, raising their drinks into the air, prepared for a night of delicious debauchery.
The curtain lifted unveiling the glam rock showmen playing their popular opener “Eyes of a Panther.” With lyrics that go “she’s got the eyes of a panther, she’s got lips like Satan, she’s got the eyes of a panther, soon we’ll be mating,” the band set the tone for what was to be in store for the rest of the evening.
Complete with new outfits and a setup that included fans for maximum 80s music video hair blowing action, Steel Panther nailed the glam rock parody look in the sexiest of ways. After playing some trademark offensive yet humorous songs such as “Asian Hooker” and “Goin’ in the Backdoor,” frontman Michael Starr – the only member of Steel Panther whose hair is not a wig – introduced the band and put a start to the comedic banter that would continue throughout the show.
While at times they may be a difficult band to take seriously, between the dick jokes, lewd comments, and constant requests of “show us your boobies… but only if you want to!” to fans, Steel Panther has some relentlessly catchy songs and are damn good musicians. Proving this point, guitarist Satchel treated the audience to a lengthy solo during which he stood in a spotlight, hair blowing in the artificially generated wind, and covered recognizable riffs from the likes of AC/DC, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Motorhead, and Black Sabbath. He finished off his solo by simultaneously playing the drums and his guitar at the same time. Appearing to act modest over the applause and cheers in the room, he repeatedly muttered “please Vancouver” into the microphone, before pausing and saying “please give it up for me!” – perfectly playing to his egotistical persona!
Also never dropping his onstage persona was the glamorous Lexxi Foxx, whose spandex pants were designed to match his bass guitar. Foxx frequently re-applied lip-gloss and hairspray, and stared into a handheld mirror whilst he caused hearts to flutter by occasionally winking at members of the audience.
Towards the end of their set the band invited one “lucky” female audience member to the stage and serenaded her with crude lustful lyrics that rhymed with her name. At this point drummer Stix joined his band mates at the front of the stage and lent his vocals to the made-up song, wearing a t-shirt that read “here for the bitches” and pants embroidered with the word “sex.” More women joined the band on stage and Starr announced: “look, we’ve got exactly 17 girls on stage” before playing “17 Girls in a Row,” a song about sleeping with multiple women in one night.
One of the final songs of the evening was the band’s signature ballad “Community Property,” a seemingly romantic song with a Steel Panther twist where Starr sings “my heart belongs to you” and follows it up with “but my cock is community property!”
Often blurring the line between funny and offensive the band appear to have no filter. It might all be an act but the Steel Panther crowd seemed to know what to expect as they laughed and shouted the filthy lyrics back at the band until the lights came up.