Steel Panther (Southampton Guildhall – 14/11/12) ★★★★★

By: editor

I’m not gonna lie, I was late and missed the opening band. But, it’s not my fault! Whoever designed Southampton’s roads was a sadist.

When I did finally arrive though, Falling Red (the band I didn’t get to see) are ringing out their final note and thanking everyone for watching. You’re welcome. The crowd is a sea of black leather and denim, with dashes of bright spandex and big wigs, this isn’t just a gig, this is a heavy metal party.

In true Steel Panther style, the band couldn’t merely walk on stage and begin playing….a short film introduces the band, claiming to be a live feed from their backstage area. The perfect way to showcase the various personalities you are about to witness perform. Bassist Lexxi Foxx being the most brilliantly acted airhead ever. In fact, Lexxi is so stupid to the point I have to imagine that in real life, he’s probably some kind of genius. Everyone by now should know that these are characters played by some very funny guys with a brilliant idea, and they have these roles down to an art. Anyway, the film goes on, the band walk the corridor to the stage, Lexxi follows shortly after as he works out whether he won the game of Battleships and finally, they emerge on stage.

It no longer feels like the year is 2015. In fact, I believe just for tonight, the Southampton Guildhall has become trapped in some kind of time warp. Transporting everyone within back to the hey day of bands such as Motley Crüe, Bon Jovi, Guns N’ Roses and the like. Steel Panther are that convincing! Ok, the lyrics may be (slightly) ruder, cruder and not remotely subtle in any way (Girl From Oklahoma – “So come on pretty baby, suck my balls all night”), but these guys can really play! They probably do this better than the bands they are here to parody….

It isn’t just the music that has influenced Steel Panther either, as we see their version of Tommy Lee’s Tit-E Cam, imaginatively named the Boobie Cam, scanning the crowd as frontman Michael Starr encourages the clearly very shy ladies in the audience to flash their tits. He succeeds. Several times. Fun is had by all. There is an unfortunate moment where a fairly hairy man is raised on his friends shoulders to treat us to his man nipples…..It doesn’t have quite the same effect.

There’s a drum solo, there’s 50 billion guitar solos, there’s riffs to die for and a real good time atmosphere. There’s no filler, just killer. Congratulations to whoever is in charge of what’s shown on the giant screen behind the band, as we see balls, Japanese porn, badly photoshopped pictures of pop stars and of course, live streams of the band from the cameras in front of the stage. Most importantly though, these songs are just really, REALLY good!

Basically, if you’re too young to have been able to see Motley Crüe in their prime, it’s not too late. I would say this is the next best thing, but to be honest, this is quite possibly even better. This isn’t just for the new breed of metal fans though, fans of the classic hair metal bands will, and do love these guys! They have complete mastery of their instruments, Michael Starr is an incredible singer. I would say he was wasted on a joke band if this joke wasn’t so hilariously accurate. They play their caricature metallers with a pureness that can only come from having genuine love for the era of music they pay homage to. The jokes are constant through the between song banter, if it’s scripted, it certainly doesn’t feel it. I honestly think they just get so in to the characters they play, it all just comes out naturally. Ripping it out of One Direction, I’m suddenly reminded what year I’m in, but apart from that, this is a true old school heavy metal show that everyone needs to see. Your face will ache from smiling for too long, you’ll be singing their songs on the way home, you may even feel a little horny. Don’t worry, it’s natural, they’re an attractive group of guys who’ve just involved you in the most extravagant session of foreplay imaginable. Absolute winner! All praise Steel Panther.

 

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