So we rolled up outside the Barrowlands at the back of seven and realised that it didn’t exactly look like a venue expecting a gig to be on. This may have been because Steel Panther had shifted to the O2 Academy, and nobody had told us. I gather an email went out around September(!) but we didn’t get it.
Fortunately, we’d driven so there was no panic about trying to get a bus or anything and we made it to the O2 in good time for support act The Cringe to warm up the crowd. Or try to.
The best thing I can say is that the crowd didn’t boo them off. They weren’t bad, they just weren’t the right band to be opening for Steel Panther. Granted, they got a few cheers between songs and polite applause at the end but you really need something… zingier or zanier if you’re opening for SP. The Cringe were just too vanilla.
There was one song they did which started off very lively and I thought “finally – something with some kick!”. And then the introduction ended and the rest of the song dropped in pace.
During the final song, the lead singer dived into the audience and was returned safely to the stage so at least the crowd didn’t hate him.
With another band headlining, they may have stood a chance of getting people more obviously excited. As it was, though, just the wrong style of music. A shame Steel Panther couldn’t have got that support band they had at the SECC a year or two ago. Def Leppard, I think they were called.
Anyway, the headliners. Steel Panther. What do you expect from them? Filth? Political incorrectness? Partying? Boobies? Hairspray? More filth?
Oh, we got it. And all wrapped up in the glorious, glorious sound of quality metal. Lights dimmed and Maiden’s “Number of the Beast” was played in its entirety before the curtain fell to reveal four sexist, misogynistic bastards ready to raise the roof and drop panties.
“Eyes of a Panther” and “Tomorrow Night” got the crowd jumping before a young lady of Southeast Asian extraction surfed to the front for “Asian Hooker” and was dragged on stage by Michael Starr. She danced like a… well… like an Asian Hooker as the band pretty much ripped the piss out of her heritage. But she didn’t care. Because – I think it’s fair to assume – she has a sense of humour.
All the time, the huge screen behind the band projected an LED-bright scene of a red-light district, much like a bad taste Blackpool illuminations. In fact, the screen was used to good effect all night with music videos, lyrics and live videos of the crowd being projected for all to see.
There were several lengthy stops for the band to talk at the crowd, but again these didn’t bore. They could easily have squeezed three more songs in with the time they had, but the chat breaks were entertaining enough that this didn’t matter. Bad taste humour, sexual innuendo, comments about how hot the chick in the front row was and how the band were grateful the band were to her husband for bringing her (for the record, she’s not married – hi, Nikki!)… all the sort of thing you expect from a Steel Panther show.
The point is, all four members of the band are quality entertainers. Their music is silly, over the top and never going to get on mainstream radio – which is the point. It means they can get away with whatever the hell they like, simultaneously lampooning and glorifying the hair metal days of yore.
And they’re fucking good at it. Even the solos were good and certainly didn’t drag on.
Honestly, they could have done another hour and I’d have still been singing along and grinning like a 14 year old who’s just found an underwear catalogue with pages that aren’t stuck together. Friends that went to the meet and greet said they were fantastic at that as well. I wish we could have afforded it, but pennies are tight at the moment.
I’m sure Download is in for a treat when these guys hit the stage before Aerosmith this year. With tracks ranging from ballads like “Community Property” to shock sleaze like “Turn Out The Lights” and anthems such as “Party All Day”, if they can’t entertain you then you’re dead. Or a member of Westboro Baptist Church in which case I wish you were.
Roll on the next tour! And the album release at the start of April.