On May 22 , 2015 we had the chance to cover America’s glam provocateurs Steel Panther with the Future Villains at the Sound Academy in Toronto.

How many non-80s bands headline the Wembley Arena? These days music is not enough to attract fans. Bands come up with image, gimmicks, controversy or whatever to get people talking. Steel Panther came up with humour. Nobody has managed to pay tribute and at the same time take a huge piss at the 80’s Hair-Metal era and all its clichés. The humour plus the androgynous looks did it for the Canadian crowd.

The fans fit the landscape image-wise. It doesn’t get better than 50 year old dudes with big guts wearing Nikki Six/Dee Snider wigs! Plus, the younger rockers stealing nerdy dudes girlfriends.

Los Angeles-based Future Villains kicked off proceedings and got the crowd going. Their cover of Deep Purple’s Highway Star was received with open arms.

Then the time came for California provocateurs who claim they get way more pussy than Motley Crue to get the party started. They came, they conquered, and they had 17 girls in the crowd on stage with them! The band members were bathed in beauty during “Glory Hole” with 17 girls on stage. They looked like kids in a candy store. I even saw a dude get on stage to tell his wife to get off…poor jealous dude.

A wise scattering of some of their newer songs such as the catchy “If I Was the King “maintained the momentum. “Eyes of a Panther” is a crotch grabbing, prowling anthem. “Fat girl” might draw from UK hard rock legends Whitesnake but has its own timbre and predatory resonance. While the prankster guitarist Satchel indulged in some ferocious fretwork the mirror-gazing bassplayer Lexxi Foxx spent some time with his hair spray and lip gloss! He even had his own rockstar mirror on stage.

As the set progressed it became evident that singer Michael Star’s voice was in its best shape for years. He could easily replace Van Halen’s legendary singer David Lee Roth. Star and guitarist Sacho (as the vocalist  likes to call him) formed a great partnership. Meanwhile, Drummer StixZadinia was thrilling and he looked like a compulsive performer.

Towards the end of the show they invited Joey Fatone from NSYNC on stage for one song! …Damn! What was he doing at a Steel Panther show?! Were they trying to get even more ladies backstage? On top of that the band members had a McLovin look-alike dude with them for a little bit! I thought they would do a roast. The singer introduced him as guitarist Sacho’s retarded son while Foxx advised the crowd to use condoms. Then the poor kid left…. Wait? Was this kid the real Hollywood nerd McLovin on stage that night?

I could see the novelty wearing off if that’s all they have. But based on the band’s upward success, I see them staying the course and milking it for all it’s worth. Miss them and you’re missing out.

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