ANOTHER GREAT SHOW FROM STEEL PANTHER!
Date: November 29, 2016
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
“Excuse me sir. You can’t go in with that.” Those were the words that greeted me as I made my way to the entrance at the newly renovated Sound Academy, which was now renamed Rebel. Sleaze Roxx writer Mark Hovarth and his friend Kelly had already made their way past the security personnel but the young lady that greeted me simply refused to let me in if I brought my camera with me. “But I am always able to bring it,” I replied to no avail. “Are you media?” she inquired. “As a matter of fact, I am.” I replied but this was greeted with a very suspicious look. “Are you on the media list?” was the next question to which I responded, “Well, no because I applied too late.” That was the last straw for the young lady who then stood her ground (her employer would be proud) and refused to let me in until I discarded my camera, which I eventually placed back in my car. “You can take photos on your cell phone” was her proposed solution to my conundrum.
Note to self — apply sooner for a press pass. The reality is that for the great majority of concerts, I never bother applying for press passes electing to pay my ticket like everybody else although sometimes I do get on the occasional “guest list.” Apparently, I will have to be more diligent from now on if I am going to bring my camera to a concert… Steel Panther have been playing Toronto’s Sound Academy venue on a yearly basis for what seems to be at least the last five years. In fact, the only venue that I have ever seen Steel Panther play in Toronto is at the Sound Academy (check out my concert reviews for 2012, 2014 and 2015). I had heard rumblings that the Sound Academy venue had changed quite a bit going more “high end” with even attendants in the washrooms as it changed names and repackaged itself to a mainly night club called Rebel. A few steps into the venue confirmed that a lot of money had been spent to make the venue a lot more swanky and splashy. Just the washrooms alone were a major step up. Even Satchel mentioned early on in Steel Panther‘s set about how nice the venue now looked and how much money had to have been spent to spruce things up.
As is often the case in Toronto, getting a spot right at the barrier between the stage and general audience area for a Steel Panther concert requires coming early (i.e. when the doors open) and this time, perhaps due to the delay encountered by my camera issue, I got to within one row of the barrier in question. This also meant standing in one spot likely for a few hours until Steel Panther made their way onto the stage. I knew that Detroit, Michigan, USA based Wilson were opening for Steel Panther and I was looking froward to checking them out after having heard of them on the “rival” website Decibel Geek.
To my dismay, there was another opening act beforehand, which I had never heard of called The Maysides. It’s not that I don’t enjoy seeing new bands but this would add another hour of standing roughly in the same spot until Steel Panther came out. As it turns out, The Maysides originate from Hamilton, Ontario, which is about one hour away from downtown Toronto. The group’s brand of simple punk rock Sum 41 styled music just did not resonate with me. It looked like the band members gave it their all but I found the music on the duller side. The stage seemed way too big for them and the bassist in particular seemed quite shy up there on stage. To get a quick pop from the crowd, The Maysides frontman Matt Harris announced a “drinking” song as the second song, during which at the end an unnecessary keg was brought out and Harris was lifted with his legs in the air while drinking some of the keg for what seemed like a few seconds. Harris also later spoke about a (short) song that he wrote called I believe “Boner On A Bus” since he apparently gets boners every time he goes on a bus. Really? I didn’t find that piece of information particularly relatable nor “cool” in any way. The sort of Blink 182 like rock tunes continued at a fast pace and luckily before I knew it, The Maysides were done.
Next up was Wilson who commanded a whole lot more stage presence than The Maysides. It felt like Wilson belonged on the bigger stage right from the start. They also had one big ass banner with their name on it in the back over Steel Panther‘s own giant banner. The look of the Wilson band members was diverse to say the least. You had the two guys that obviously worked out — the shorter and ball cap wearing guitarist (whose name I don’t know) and the slightly long haired and bearded bassist — along with a long haired ’80s era looking guitarist and the energetic short haired and bearded frontman. Yes, Wilson have a drummer too but I can’t for the life remember what he looked like. Wilson‘s music was a combination of some cool guitar riffs with a lot of modern elements to it and overall, they sounded quite good live. The singer’s enthusiasm was definitely there and he was able to get strong reactions from the crowd. While Wilson put on a good opening set, I did not feel compelled to seek out any of their music afterwards but at the same time, I won’t be unhappy either if I see them again listed on a concert bill.
Before I knew it, it was time for the headliner Steel Panther to grace the stage. The group kicked things off with the three punch of “Eyes Of a Panther,” “”Just Like Tiger Woods” and “Party Like Tomorrow Is The End Of The World.” I believe the last song finished with singer Michael Starr, guitarist Satchel and bassist Lexxi Foxx doing heir customary poses while slowly moving in unison as the song ended. What can you say about these guys? They are total pros and the amount of ad lib that they successfully do on stage is very impressive. Steel Panther specialize in making fun of the various stereotypes in the world and this night was no exception. As usual, they were able to find an Asian woman in the audience to come up onstage while they played their live staple “Asian Hooker.” I can’t recall if it was shortly after that song or a little later in the evening but they pointed out that most Asian women are not that big chested as the one that was on stage this night. It’s the kind of taboo stuff that everyone is thinking but hardly ever mentions yet here are Steel Panther having fun with it.
Early on in the evening, Satchel was repeatedly making fun of someone that he referred to as a “monkey.” Given that black people tend to be the butt of jokes at Steel Panther concerts — just like Asian women are targeted as well — I thought that they were calling a black person a “monkee.” Yes, that would have likely crossed the line on what is acceptable even at a Steel Panther show. However, the “monkey” comments ended up surfacing because there was someone actually dressed in a monkey suit in the general admission area. The “monkey” was eventually invited up on stage along with another gentleman for a guitar face off. Each got to play one of Satchel‘s guitars and demonstrate how good of a guitarist that they are. The monkey turned out to be not quite as talented as the other person named Simon who ended up playing quite the guitar solo until Starr interrupted saying something to the effect that when you’re in a band, you have to be a team player. Simon ended up leading Steel Panther through a spirited rendition of Van Halen‘s — or should it be The Kinks‘ — “You Really Got Me.”
It was nice to hear and see Steel Panther also play some different songs than their usual fare. This time for the slowed down acoustic portion of the evening, the band elected to play “Let Me Cum In,” “She’s On The Rag” and “It Won’t Suck Itself.” As usual, Satchel and Starr started recruiting many females from the general admission area to join the band for their classic “!7 Girls In A Row.” It was the hits and nothing but the hits to close out the evening as Steel Panther finished their set with “Gloryhole” and “Death To All But Metal” before playing their usual encores of “Community Property” and “Party All Day (Fuck All Night.” During the first song encore, Starr had the audience sing the initial verses before stating to the crowd that hearing them sing so loudly was a better high than even a bump of cocaine! Mark Hovarth‘s friend Kelly who had never seen Steel Panther live before noted how impressed he was with them and that he could easily go see them ten times in a row without getting bored. This was my seventh time seeing Steel Panther in concert and although the novelty has worn off, I still really enjoy seeing them play live and always have a great time. This time was no exception although I did feel that I had a better time when I saw Steel Panther earlier this year in Waterloo or back in May 2014 in Toronto.
Track List for Steel Panther in Toronto on November 29, 2016:
01. Eyes Of A Panther
02. Just Like Tiger Woods
03. Party Like Tomorrow Is The End Of The World
04. Asian Hooker
05. Fat Girl (Thar She Blows)
06. You Really Got Me (with Simon on guitar) (Van Halen cover)
07. Let Me Cum In
08. She’s On The Rag
09. It Won’t Suck Itself
10. 17 Girls In A Row
12. Death To All But Metal
13. Community Property
14. Party All Day (Fuck All Night)
Steel Panther playing “Community Property” in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on November 29, 2016:
Live in Toronto November 29th 2016