LIVE: Steel Panther @ Arena, Manchester (18/10/2016)

Date: October 18th 2016
Venue: Arena, Manchester
Support: Buckcherry / Bowling For Soup


Who would have ever thought that the jokes, fun and goofy nature of a glam rock parody band like Steel Panther would’ve ever been able to ascend to the point where they would have their own headline arena tour across the UK? Maybe some of you, but it just goes to show that a parody – if done right – can be just as successful as the genuine thing.

Californian hard rockers Buckcherry [3] are one of the bands that go for the more serious approach when it comes to rock ‘n’ roll, and that’s fine, but tonight Buckcherry are almost everything but. Now seven records deep into their career, they’ve got an array of material to pick out into their set, and it’s a shame it all sounds as beige as one another. Their hit ‘Crazy Bitch’ gets a few sing alongs, but with Josh Todd‘s embarrassing dad dancing and a cringey spin on Icona Pop‘s ‘I Love It’ to change the words to “Say fuck it”, the set is pretty dead from the get go.

In terms of sound Bowling For Soup [7] definitely stick out, going more the sweet sounds of pop-punk over gritty and powerful rock, but their humour and array of hits is all that’s needed. ‘Bitch Song’ and ‘My Wena’ are as catchy as they are funny, and their mid-song banter keeps spirits high. From calling one another fat and/or depressed, posing across the stage for band photos for the fans, and dubbing themselves as “The band that waves back”, very few bands get the balance of comedy and music right, and even less do it as flawlessly as Bowling For Soup.

With their touring partners now bowed out and off the stage, Californian comedy glam rockers Steel Panther [8] are the perfect combo of all the very best qualities from the preceding acts; taking the rock ‘n’ roll ethos of Buckcherry and humorous sparks of Bowling For Soup, mixing it up into their own cocktail with leopard print, hairspray and spandex, and having us all down it for their 15 song long set.

What has set Steel Panther ahead in the game of parody rock is the fact that, despite being able to hit comedy gold time after time, they’re actually commendable musicians. Michael Starr has some formidable pipes on him, and his range on the likes of ‘Asian Hooker’ and ‘Death To All But Metal’ is intimidating, and with a few minutes on his own, Satchel manages to crack out licks up and down the fretboard, at one point whilst hitting the pedal of Stix Zadinia‘s kick drum as the sold out crowd roar.

Whether it’s the banter and abuse they hurl at Lexxi Foxx when he’s too interested at looking at himself in the mirror, the lol orgy of songs like ‘Just Like Tiger Woods’, ‘Gloryhole’, and ‘Community Property’, or the mass invite of girls onto the stage midway through the set, Steel Panther amplify all of the key criteria of 80s hair metal to 11, and though it’s all clearly a joke, what isn’t a joke is they do it better than most of the bands who took it all very seriously at their absolute prime.

Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)

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