Photography & Words By: Adam R. harrison
It was death to all but metal Wednesday night at Toronto’s REBEL nightclub as gimmick hard rock band, Steel Panther, glammed it up with all the leather spandex, leopard print, big wigs, and hard rock licks imaginable. Panther is a band that was designed to make you laugh and drop your jaw in shock. In a day and age that has become notoriously oversensitive and politically correct, this foursome has made it their duty to make you look at the person next to you and say “I can’t believe they just said that” as many times as possible in an evening. Gay and rape jokes were dropped on the regular by this band that refers to themselves as the Harvey Weinstein’s of rock music.
From the get go Steel Panther were hamming it up, using every overdramatic rock pose in the book, masturbating their microphones and by the third song, entitled “Asian Hooker,” they had invited a young Asian fan on stage and while lead singer, Michael Starr, was dancing with her, guitarist, Satchel, was thrusting her from behind. Luckily, the Steel Panther demographic is not the oversensitive type. They understand everything is in the name of good fun and in fact, these antics are what they come to see.
“Thank you Cleveland!” exclaimed Starr. After correcting him, Satchel reassured us how much he loves Toronto (and our bangable bitches), to which Starr remarked “Wait, I thought you said we were in Ontario?” And it would just go on from here. Quite often between songs the band members would spend upwards of ten minutes exchanging what is obviously cleverly scripted banter. Insulting each other’s sexual preferences, performance, and contracted diseases as well as their weight and age. “You’re like a fat David Lee Roth,” stated Satchel about Starr, to which Starr replied, “No, I’m like a skinny Vince Neil.” Satchel then became sincere, “I love you man, you’re a much better singer than Vince Neil… and you carry the weight better too.” Whenever effeminate bassist, Lexxi Foxx, would finish fixing his makeup in his handheld mirror and chime in, the others would attack his lack of masculinity and even dubbed him the Kevin Spacey of rock music.
About midway through the set, Starr, Foxx and drummer, Stix Zadinia (get it?!), cleared the stage for Satchel to perform a guitar solo. What started as a typical solo took a turn when Satchel approached the drum set and laid out his own bass beats while playing iconic hard rock riffs. The segment started with “Smoke on the Water,” and would transition to “Crazy Train,” “Master of Puppets,” “The Trooper” and “Iron Man” but then took a holiday twist with a hard rock version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “The Dreidel Song.”
The Christmas theme would continue when Starr invited a lady name Desiree (yes, they had a field day with that stripper name) and serenaded her to “The Stocking Song.” Mid-way through, Starr actually forgot the lyrics and had to be reminded by Foxx. When he continued, he held Desiree’s hand, looked into her eyes and sweetly sang the lyrics to her. “I’m gonna stuff your stocking this year, gonna fill it up nice and tight, gonna feel so good when I slide my gifts into it tonight.”
Before Desiree returned to her husband in the audience, she flaunted her breasts at the band and the entire venue. Which sparked Starr’s interest and queued him to invite any girl who want to join them on stage. About fifty confident ladies got up on stage to dance, grind with the band, and show their stuff during “17 Girls in a Row” and “Gloryhole.”
A Steel Panther show really is a show. It’s a rock concert, theatrical performance and comedy sketch rolled into one. A show that presents a flashback to a time when this ludicrous behaviour actually existed. It encourages you to have a sense of humour and check any sensitivities at the door. The set would wrap up with some of Panther’s most popular songs including “Death To All But Metal,” “Community Property,” and of course, “Party All Day (F*ck All Night).” Before taking a final bow, Satchel asserted, “Before you leave, make sure to buy our merch. All the proceeds go to a good cause. That cause being our drug addiction.”