De Oosterpoort, Groningen (NL)
Impaled Northern Moonforest ridicules trve, grim and frostbitten black metal with simple noise. The Dutch group Blaas of Glory (a brass ensemble) covers rock classics dressed up as caricatures of rock heroes. Thus, satire in metal is nothing new. None of these groups as loved as Los Angeles Glamrockers Steel Panther however. In Groningen they start out their European tour with many sold out dates. Metal-Exposure go and check why this band is so popular.
The venue is packed with people with teased hairdo’s, clothed in tight, red and black striped spandex and finished with denim jackets. The foursome of Steel Panther outdoes everyone though. Bass guitarist Lexxi Foxx is for example dressed in a glittery, purple spandex, with a lively blond wig, big rosy lips and drag queen make-up.
From the start the crowd energetically engages with the show. They sing along loudly from the start and even begin a slow push pit (a phenomenon that happens when the music is simply not heavy enough for a decent mosh pit and where fans don’t seem to comprehend a pit needs more movement). Later on however, the fans do manage to create a small wall of death to the accessible rock tunes.
What is admirable about Steel Panther is their ability to create a good, interactive atmosphere. Vocalist Michael Starr spends a lot of time joking about pussy, fucking, butthole areas and titties. That the crowd enjoys these plain jokes becomes clear when you hear high pitched laughs from nearly everybody in the venue. After a while though, yet another ‘let’s-fuck-this-and-that’ becomes dull and a ‘get on with it’-feeling is unavoidable.
The lame jokes are alternated with music luckily. Most of the time, these tunes are safe and predictable however. They are all built on the same formula of typical rock anthem clichés: plain rock riffs, tame drums and non-exciting vocals, like Party Like Tomorrow Is The End of the World. One of the most inventive tracks that the group performs is Death to All But Metal. Power riffs are here at least combined with more complex guitar melodies. Also, at some point guitarist Satchel mesmerizes the crowd by showing off his actual solo skills.
Panther’s stage performance is entertaining. The musicians quickly pace from one side of the stage to the other and incite the crowd by creating sing along moments and waving metal horns at them. To once again demonstrate their ‘over the top’-ness, the band fixes its hair and make-up every now and then. Of course they also invite some ladies on stage. Some of these girls instantly lose most self respect: they start humping each other and one decides to show her boobs to the crowd.
All in all, what makes Panther so well loved is their gimmicky show combined with cheesy rock that even your grandmother can appreciate. It seems a perfect outlet for people who need to an evening of brainless entertainment and live out their over the top hard rock fantasies for once. If that does not appeal to you please skip Steel Panther as you will find it to be a waste of money and time.