My third gig in four nights, and a cracker to finish this tight run with. Funnily enough, this was almost the same lineup as the last time the headliners hit town only this time we didn’t have Inglorious on the bill [Proof God exists – Ross]. Take that as a positive or a negative, depending on your viewpoint but it did mean that Toby Jepson and his Wayward Sons took sole support credits, and they did their damnedest to earn them.
Last time they had the one album to promote, this time around they had The Truth Ain’t What it Used to Be as well, which was released at the end of 2019. Both albums were covered as the five-piece did their best to warm up a crowd which started a little bit indifferent to their being there. Certainly, there was a core of fans down the front, but it was obvious from the off that the band had an uphill struggle. However, they were very much up to the challenge.
Now, I want to be up front here. Unlike Ross who reviewed that recent album, I’m not a fan. I loved Little Angels back in the day and I have massive respect for Mr Jepson, but Wayward Sons just don’t click for me. However, what I can appreciate is talent and effort. They gave it everything, and the harder they tried the more the crowd got into them. By the time they hit “Ghost”, there were noticeably more hands in the air, and later as Toby asked for the crowd to raise their voices it was several orders of magnitude louder than it had been. As they rounded things off with “Joke’s On You” and “Until the End” they had half the dancefloor rocking and a large part of the venue cheering them as they announced their own tour later this year.
Steel Panther are a band who stereotypify heavy metal. Their shows are everything that people think metal shows are, but pretty much really aren’t. Which is a shame as this stuff is way better when it’s done right. The thing is, it’s not easy to send something up while still being quality. This lot have nailed it, as they did again tonight.
Opening with their signature tune, the crowd were banging heads from the off. They threw a few newer numbers in at the start, but Heavy Metal Rules definitely didn’t swamp the setlist. There was plenty of time for the usual sexist, misogynistic, low-brow banter that we all know and love (but don’t admit to outside of the safety of the gig). Anyone who was complaining about Bowling For Soup last night talking too much when they should have been playing songs would have hated tonight’s show. But this depraved chit-chat is part of the fun. A Steel Panther gig just wouldn’t be the same without it. It’s essentially Viz coated in hairspray and spandex.
You know the music, so what else did we have? Well, boobies. Obviously. A young lady (not too young, thankfully) who exuded confidence, being serenaded by all four band members. It must be difficult for a band to pluck someone out of the audience who will happily be part of the joke, but they nailed it with Sabina! She was, of course, joined by 16 (and no more, no matter how you counted it) other ladies for “that” song, and a guest guitarist from the audience who covered guitar duties for “Gloryhole”.
Back in 2015, the band had someone do drums for them as they finished with “Eyes of the Panther”. He blew everyone away and tonight’s guest star did the same. Obviously not some chancer, this guy could actually play. And move, and perform. Good on you, fella!
As the crowd emptied out of the venue, I watched one guy trying to impress a lady he was with by dancing like a tool on the wet dancefloor. She hoofed him in the balls and he collapsed on his arse. Somehow this completely base slapstick was the icing on the cake of a great evening. Come back soon, guys. It’s always a filthy pleasure.
Second opinion (Ross):
I nabbed a last-minute ticket because Steel Panther are one of those bands that I’ve seen plenty and know what I’m going to get but fuck it, it’s Steel fucking Panther. As much as it pains me to say it, Mosh has pretty much nailed the evening. Wayward Sons were great but they had to work far harder for a warm reception than they did when they supported Black Star Riders but Jepson and co. are well aware this is a different crowd whereas Riders and Sons go together like Panther and mountains of cocaine. Half the fun of seeing Steel Panther is the lewd jokes between the great songs played with precision and skill (something they don’t get half as much credit for as they deserve).
But that’s not to say the evening was without fault. Well, not the band, at least. Of course, we’re now in a post-#MeToo world and as Satchel admitted, singer Michael Starr is the heavy metal equivalent of Harvey Weinstein. So, when all the girls decide they’re going to get on stage and dance with the band for “Seventeen Girls in a Row” and ham it up with them, it’s frankly disgusting when the guy next to me decides to pant like a dog. It’s not even like there’s a fine line between the joke that the audience and band are all in on and that behaviour, it’s a massive fucking chasm. Rant aside, it’s nothing short of a great night but as I already mentioned, you know that’s going to happen, just as much as you know you’re going to get herpes from Lexxi’s mum.
Pics by Katie Frost Photography (London show)