Steel Panther

support Blackwater
author MN date 14/02/14 venue Amager Bio, Copenhagen, DEN

As the walls of social media are smothered with mushy messages of “love”, the nauseating Valentine's Day looms over everything and proves to be the defining indication of the world's increased narcissism. So for that reason I feel satisfied that my night will not consist of buttering up a loved one with overpriced flowers and chocolates. In fact I'll be experiencing the polar opposite. Steel Panther are the most lustful, loud, boastful and arguably repulsive members of the heavy metal community. Yet, this distinction does not mean they are not massively popular. Tonight's show is completely sold out and an after-party with a party bus to High Voltage ensures continuance of the vulgar festivities. I'm not entirely convinced of Steel Panther, both as an entertainment act with stupid humor and whether they indeed are a serious band with conviction and talent. Their live act tonight will define the verdict, and I have chosen to give them an honest chance. Seeing as I have been invited to a warm up party with an obligatory dress-up code, I enter Amager Bio's venue looking like a sleazy glam metal rocker from the 80s, with blonde wig and makeup. In some fashion, I enter this show with an anthropological mindset, I expect to completely immerse myself into Steel Panther's universe, like field work in a tribal society. First up on stage is Blackwater from London, a trio that plays stadium rock with a wide appeal.

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The room is already filled up as the trio enters the stage with a no bullshit attitude towards the audience. They are here to do the job of warming the audience up and remaining humble all the while, and this kind disposition plays out in their performance. Vocalist Jay Bartlett has a driven and sharp vocal that packs a good punch, as displayed in the soulful “By Day & By Night”, a single written for European cancer research. The dreadlocked bassist Per Uven delivers an enthusiastic performance, especially during the new single “High Coast Heroes”, a groovy rock serenade that displays Blackwater's sense for melody and their striving for a massive sound, which for a three piece they manage to do quite well.

Having to open for something like Steel Panther is an arguably tough job, but Blackwater manage to get the enthusiasm sparked into the audience. I have to admit that Blackwater are unfortunately one of those opening acts that don't leave me with any considerable memorable impression. It is clear that their sound caters to a wide audience due to the catchy melodies and standardized yet powerful riffs. I don't see much daring in their music and for some people this is a good thing, it just doesn't cut it for me. Hopefully Blackwater will find their place amongst the myriad of other rock bands that stick to a clear formula. Their performance is however technically up to high standards and the three musicians do possess some very strong chemistry that radiates from their performance.

Steel Panther

After a thirty minute intermission, Amager Bio stands jam-packed ready to receive tonight's headliners. A severe party vibe envelopes the auditorium and the LA sunset strip nostalgia begins to arise, even for those who are too young to even have experienced the debauchery of the 1980's glam metal scene, including myself. Upon the stage you see a full setup with stage extensions in the form of podium levels, and the unmistakable pink Steel Panther logo provides the backdrop to the rock show. The lights begin to dim and the audience goes into uproar. “Eyes Of The Panther” opens the night's festivities and one by one the members of Steel Panther enter the stage with smiles from ear to ear and an unmistakable “cockyness” (pun severely intended). The phallus related humoristic inputs are ready directly from the get-go, even some audience members have packed a life-size lolita doll and a giant balloon penis to be thrown directly to the band and lead vocalist Michael Starr spares no time to use the provided props.

After a couple of songs are performed, the on-stage banter commences and all musicians, apart from the silent drummer, join in on the comedic inputs. I completely understand that Steel Panther is definitely not something to be taken seriously and their humour is meant to be outrageously lame, always involving sex, drugs and partying. Their jokes are at times funny, but a lot of the time they kind of fall flat. Having understood that this is more an entertainment show than a musical experience, I still have to admit that I find funnier crude humor from a selection of stand up comedians who pull it off better. Nonetheless, Steel Panther do everything in their might to parody the glam rock era and it has to be commended that they spare no expense in order to make it a reality.

As the song “Just Like Tiger Woods” rings out, the song “Party Like Tomorrow Is The End Of The World” gets the audience up in complete euphoria, and moshpits start to form in every corner of the floor. 40 minutes into the show, Steel Panther decide to play some newer material in the form of “Glory Hole”, a song that is performed seamlessly by the band, especially from the barbie-doll looking bassist Lexxi Foxx. A solid guitar solo is eventually performed in the most clunky and over the top fashion from axeman Satchel, and as customary at any glam metal extravaganza, the guitarist leaps energetically around the stage. Sealing the initial set, the chart topper “Death To All But Metal” is performed and a massive singalong from the audience proves to impress the lads of Steel Panther. As is rooted in glam tradition, the worshiping of women as sexual objects is also present and the girls happily join in the festivities by invading the stage to share full-on french kisses and flashing their breasts to both audience and band.

The encore brings back the band for a solid three more tunes which is highlighted with the bombastic finisher “Party All Day (Fuck All Night)” which, not surprisingly, deals with sexual acts, STD's and of course the never-ending party. Steel Panther are one of those bands that are either loved or hated by many, I find myself in the extraordinary position of having been converted. Steel Panther is not a band I listen to at home, the music itself is frankly recycled material that could sound like B-sides from a large selection of bands from the 1980s, but as a live show, I completely get it. Going to see Steel Panther means to let go of your smug musical narrow-mindedness and immersing yourself into what can best be described as a carnevalesque “Vegas style” glam metal show, where to lose ones inhibitions is indeed necessary in order to enjoy the show. On a technical level, Steel Panther manage to pull of an almost two-hour long show with enthusiasm and with great sound production, so it's a solid effort from a comedic phenomenon that has taken me a very long time to understand.


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