When Steel Panther comes to town, you cancel all other plans to make sure you can see them.
This week the Los-Angeles-based comedic glam metal band came to Vancouver to perform a 3-night stint at the infamous Commodore Ballroom.
On Thursday night, the first night, we were there to capture some photos of the evening and share them with the world.
Opening the show was the Kelowna-bred rock outfit The Wild!. The four-piece came out in their matching battle vests with looks of determination and excitement strewed across their faces.
They proceeded to deliver a raucous blues-rock set that stirred up the audience and started the night off right.
This was my second time seeing these boys live and they have grown better since the first. The guitarist, The Kid, and the bassist, Boozus, made synchronised instrument movements and headbangs during the set, adding that polished look you see with much more mature bands. The lead singer, Dylan Villain, was ferocious in his delivery. He pushed his body to emanate a raspy yet powerful vocal set, emblazed with emotion and passion. These guys fucking rocked, there was no doubt about that.
Between bands, I was able to observe and enjoy the glam metal costumes sported by the audience. Lots of big hair wigs, spandex, and women, in short, I mean super short, skirts accompanied by added glitter and 80s-throwback abuse of bright makeup. It was an ode to a time lost, one I wasn’t old enough to appreciate during my life time but fell in love with through my teen years in the nineties.
Soon the headliners stormed the stage and it was time to feel the Steel.
The foursome stood together near the back of the stage with a brand new backdrop hanging behind them. The new stage accoutrement displayed “Steel Panther” in enormous lettering, spelt out on a mountainside like the Hollywood sign.
The band kicked things off with “Eyes Of A Panther” from their 2009 album Feel The Steel.
The eager audience erupted with cheering and screaming which quickly turned into nearly the entire venue singing the lyrics along with the band.
The musicians worked around the stage while playing their individual roles.
Michael Starr, the lead singer, takes on the archetype of the 80s band lead wonderfully. Whether it is taking moments to stand over a large fan to blow his curled hair around or to lunge his loins provocatively at the crowd, he becomes encapsulated in his role, and judging by the constant smiles on his face, he loves every moment of it.
Satchel, the lead guitarist, is more subtle. He shreds his axe while making intense facial expressions. His humour comes more from the inter-song banter where he pokes fun of himself and his band mated. At one point the rest of the band left the stage and he played a medley solo, covering various infamous guitar rifts, all while he played the beat on the kick drum.
Lexxi Foxx, the bassist, takes on the androgynous role made famous during the glam metal heyday by groups like Mötley Crüe and Poison. He spends most of his non-playing on stage time looking into a handheld mirror and applying lipgloss. He admires himself in the mirror like an OCD parrot.
Stix Zadinia, the drummer, spends most of the show as the beat maker to the songs but he is very animated while he beats those skins. He is involved with the bands inter-song joking around but less so than the rest. I found myself watching him during the set as he made overly dramatic faces and kissy faces at the crowd.
I walked away from their set with an increased appreciation for their performance.
While they only played a baker’s dozen worth of songs, the music is really only a part of what your ticket pays for. For each song, there are a few minutes of self-deprecating jokes and inter-band taunting. It is as much performance as it is music.
Throughout their set, various women sat awkwardly on the shoulders of some helpful person, as the band and audience encouraged them to show their chests. This breast sharing culminated during the groups’ performance of “17 Girls in a Row” from their 2011 album Balls Out, where they invite seventeen women on stage while they sing to them and dance with them and, again, encourage them to flash their chests. It was a bevvy of boobs, butts, and drunken dance moves, but it was all in good fun.
The night ended and the crowd departed.
I spend some time around the stage, waiting to acquire a set list and guitar pick.
I was succesful, just as the security team was instructing me I had to leave.