Steel Panther (with Delta Rose & TARSHA) 12/28/2009
House of Blues – West Hollywood, CA
Words/Photos/Videos by Justin/concertconfessions.com
Racist, Homophobic and degrading to women, one would think that a band like Steel Panther would never survive liberal West Hollywood, CA. Yet the band once known as Metal Skool has used Monday nights on the Sunset Strip to organically grow their mock metal musical onslaught from underground buzz to worldwide domination. Having not seen the boys since their name change/major label record deal, a co-worker and I decided to make the most of our forced paid vacation from work and checked in with Steel Panther at their new home – House of Blues Sunset Strip.
First off, I must say that I was shocked that there was no security search and I was freely able to bring my camera into the usually fan unfriendly venue. This may be the first time in history I have nothing bad to say about my least favorite venue on the Sunset Strip (and beyond, Anaheim is even worse). God Frank and I walked up to the bar just in time to catch the end of the opening set from Delta Rose. Solid licks from what appeared to be young kids. In fact, they should have been main support, as the next artist – TARSHA was not worthy of cleaning trash post show, let alone performing on stage. Looking like a pregnant version of Mitch Kramer from the film Dazed and Confused the “vocalist” (who the band is named for) danced around like a T-rex with a Mcnugget made of kangaroo meat shoved up his anus. This is being nice; his vocals were even worse and not worth wasting words on. While the back bar rapidly filled up from folks fleeing the dance floor, the band performed generic Sunset Strip rock that make Buckcherry sound fresh, original and ground breaking. The only good thing about this painfully terrible artist was his bass player – Patrick Morgan. He reminded me a lot of Coheed and Cambria’s Michael Todd, both in sound and style. Patrick, please stop wasting your talent with this TARSHA clown, branch out and create something original.
After moving up from the bar to the main floor (tall boys in hand) it was minutes before midnight when Steel Panther hit the stage with a scorching cover of Motley Crue’s “Kickstart My Heart”. With front man Michael Starr playing up the lead guitarist Satchel managed to move a lot more than Motley axe slinger Mick Mars. For the next 75 minutes, the band proved why they have become the reigning kings of the Sunset Strip over the past decade with rocking riffs and offensive yet humorous stage banter.
Steel Panther works so well because of their relationship with the audience. No one is safe from humiliation in front of their peers, especially the willing. Hoping on stage after two songs, these gals were subjected to a dirty verbal lashing usually heard on the other side of the hill in the 818.
Musically, Steel Panther is a peak into the past for the current generation who were too young or perhaps not even born when spandex and aqua net ruled Sunset Blvd. Ok, sure Ratt was not re-working “La Bamba” into a highly racist yet hysterical number down the street at the Whiskey, but then again what do I know, I was in elementary school 370 miles north when that scene was going down. Hell, even recent numbers were not safe from Panthers mockery. The foursome used “The Reason” by Hoobastank to put males blocking females from the front row on cock block check.
It’s a good thing Southern California has a lot of pretty gals looking for attention. In the past, I have seen a gal or two get on stage with the band. On the last Monday of the first decade of the 21st century, all in attendance were blessed enough to have a good dozen women willing to shake and grind during covers like “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and originals including “Party All Day”. Hell, even lucky male audience members got some action. During a Two-For-Tuesday double shot of Guns ‘n’ Roses, Chad was brought upon stage for yawning in the crowd and ended up being rewarded with lap dances from two “dirty whores” during “Sweet Child O’ Mine”. The band booted Chad from their stage before the musical highlight of the night – a down and dirty version of the G’n’R classic “Mr. Brownstone”. As far as boob highlights, I think everyone appreciated the Asian with perfect breasts made next door in Beverly Hills showing a job well done before the band played their original number “Asian Hooker”.
Steel Panther managed to point out the only black guy in the crowd and make fun of him, repeatedly called female fans whores, sluts and requested they get their tubes tied so the band could bang them without condoms and dropped multiple gay slurs smack dab in the middle of the largest gay community in Southern California. The reason why it works is much in the same vein that South Park works. Steel Panther not only pick on everyone, they can make fun if themselves. Steel Panther is Spinal Tap in spandex. A hilarious spoof of what Hollywood was in 1986, with tasty riffs performed by solid musicians, and is NOT to be missed if you ever have a chance.