Steel Panther with opener Diemonds live in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada Concert Review

WHY DO STEEL PANTHER KEEP CALLING ME JEROME?

Date: July 12, 2016
Venue: Maxwell’s Concerts & Events
Location: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Reviewer: Olivier

AWESOME! If I had to sum up the evening in one word, “awesome” would be it. That would also make for one short concert review so let me expand on why seeing Steel Panther for the sixth time live along with opener Diemonds for the fifteenth time live was simply awesome!

Steel Panther posterWhile the evening turned out to be a fantastic one, it looked a little bleak in the afternoon when I started my “journey” from Toronto to Waterloo. What should be a 60 minute drive in normal traffic can easily take double or triple the time during Toronto’s brutal rush hour traffic. I won’t go into all the gory details but let’s just say that through some miscommunication, about one hour was wasted between Sleaze Roxx writer Eduardo and I waiting for each other and our departure time — which had already been initially delayed by 45 minutes — was now starting at just before 5:00 pm. That time is hands down probably the worst possible time to leave the Toronto area. Through an alternate route for part of the way, and some fast driving on my part whenever possible, Eduardo and I made it to Waterloo in just under two hours and got to check out one very impressive music collection from fellow Waterloo resident and Sleaze Roxx reader Mark. Time at Mark‘s music zen flew by and was definitely too short. Nevertheless, in between Steel Panther videos, Eduardo and I got to discover one absolutely smoking but now defunct Toronto band called Ultraviolence (you’ll be reading more on them via Sleaze Roxx in the future).

Knowing that Steel Panther had sold out the Maxwell’s Concerts & Events venue, Eduardo and I made our way to the venue for 7:30 pm when the doors were scheduled to open since I was hoping to get as close to the stage as possible. Not surprisingly, there was a huge line-up of people waiting for the doors to open. As Eduardo and I made our way to the end of the line, we ran across guitarist Daniel Dekay and singer Priya Panda from Diemonds. Dekay gave me some props for wearing a Löve Razër (the red hot newcomers from Windsor, Ontario, Canada) t-shirt and I wished them a great show! Now’s a good time as any to tell you how stocked I was when I heard that Diemonds were going to be opening for Steel Panther during the latter’s latest mini-Canadian tour. Obviously, I had already purchased my ticket to see Steel Panther regardless of who was opening for them but hearing that the Toronto based Diemonds — whose The Bad Pack album is one of my favorite albums of all-time and whose latest album Never Wanna Die reached #3 on Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2015 — were going to be the opening band was just pure icing on the cake!

As what felt like 100 people got in to the Maxwell’s venue before Eduardo and I, things got worse when I had mistakingly thought that I was to pick up our tickets at the will-call window or office. As one of the door personnel quickly told me, there was no will-call at Maxwell’s. I then had to scramble to see if I had still had the e-mail from many months ago confirming our ticket purchase to see Steel Panther. By the time that I found the e-mail in question (thank God I did not erase it), it seemed like another 100 people had passed us to get into the venue. All I could think was that we would likely be four to five rows back from the barrier by the time we got into the venue. How wrong I was. The Maxwell’s venue by the way looked fantastic with what seemed like a big rectangle shape in front of the stage and an all general admission area kind of separated by a bar on one side and the sound area in the middle of the room. Although there were already tons of people in the venue, there were a few people near the barrier close to the stage and I was able to secure a spot front and centre at the barricade in front of the stage. As far as I was concerned, I now had the best spot to witness what turned out to be an incredible performances from both Steel Panther and opening band Diemonds.

Upon seeing the stage setup, I initially felt bad for Diemonds since Steel Panther‘s drum set and “ramp” in the back coupled IMG_6480with the smaller Maxwell’s stage than what Steel Panther is likely used to meant that Diemonds drummer Aiden Tranquada‘s drum set was smack down in the middle of the stage in front of the Steel Panther drum set leaving hardly any room for anyone to get in front of Tranquada‘s drum kit. This essentially meant that guitarist C.C. Diemond and newcomer bassist Tyrone Buccione would be on one side of the drum kit while Panda and DeKay would be confined to the other side. That turned out not to be the case as Panda regularly crossed to the other side of Tranquada‘s drum kit by essentially walking on the narrow path of wires between the edge of the stage and Tranquada‘s drum set. Even C.C. Diemond ventured to the other side at one point crossing carefully on the path of wires guitar in hand.

IMG_6490Diemonds hit the stage in strong fashion with mostly material from their latest album Never Wanna Die. The group sounded fantastic and Panda‘s vocals were at the perfect volume over the music. The whole band seemed to really be enjoying their time on stage. Diemonds could have played any song from The Bad Pack and/or Never Wanna Die because there is not one weak track on any of those albums. The sleaze rockers kicked off their set with three hard rockers from Never Wanna Die consisting of “Better Off Dead,” “Hell Is Full” and “Forever Untamed.” Next up was their single “Ain’t That Kinda Girl” which should have been a big hit and which I think caught the audience by surprise on how catchy it was. Time certainly flies by as it had been more than ten months since I had last seen Diemonds play live. I was glad that their song “Left For Dead” from The Bad Pack album was still in the set as they had just put it into their set when I had last seen them play live in Barrie back in September 2015.

IMG_6484I really liked how both C.C. Diemond and Panda both addressed the crowd during the entire night and how Diemonds really tried to engage the audience throughout their set. This was especially evident when C.C. Diemond crossed over to the other side of the stage before getting half the the crowd to sing a “Oooooh ooooh” type chant after him before newcomer Buccione did the same for his side of the audience. At this point, I thought that I might be hearing a new song from Diemonds given that none of their songs on their studio albums really started that way but this turned out to be the intro / launch of the title track from their new album Never Wanna Die. Well done Diemonds to incorporate that catchy and engaging start into the song. Next up was probably “Meet Your Maker” which is likely my favorite track from Never Wanna Die. Although the song “Over It” was initially not one of my favorite songs from Never Wanna Die, it sounded a lot better live with the vocal harmonies of Panda, Diemond and Buccione! Wow! Diemonds closed off their energy filled set with “Get The Fuck Outta Here” from The Bad Pack and their punk like anthem “Highway” from their In The Rough debut EP. Overall, Diemonds simply killed it putting on a great performance and getting the crowd perfectly warmed up for the main event.

IMG_6491Diemonds’ setlist:
01. Better Off Dead
02. Hell Is Full
03. Forever Untamed
04. Ain’t That Kinda Girl
05. Left For Dead
06. Never Wanna Die
07. Meet Your Maker
08. Over It
09. Get The Fuck Outta Here
10. Highway

Diemonds‘ “Never Wanna Die” live at Maxwell’s in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada on July 12, 2016:

Diemonds – Never Wanna Die – Maxwell’s Waterloo ON July 12, 2016

Diemonds opening for Steel Panther at Maxwell’s Music House in Waterloo, ON July 12, 2016.

Diemonds‘ “Over It” live at Maxwell’s in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada on July 12, 2016:

Diemonds – Over It – Maxwell’s Waterloo July 12, 2016

Diemonds opening up for Steel Panther at Maxwell’s Music House in Waterloo, ON July 12th 2016.

IMG_6500Before long, Steel Panther were next and as usual, the crowd was in a frenzy from the very moment that guitarist Satchel, singer Michael Starr, bassist Lexxi Foxx and drummer Stix Zadinia launched into their strong one two opening punch of “Eyes Of A Panther” and “Tomorrow Night.” I was waiting to hear the comedy routine by Satchel and Starr but the group played one more track — “Fat Girl (Thar She Blows)” — before the duo jumped into their familiar but always entertaining comedy routine. Starr at one point asked how many people had seen Steel Panther play live before advising the audience that the show tonight would be the same as in prior times! However, Starr advised that for the portion of the crowd that was seeing Steel Panther for the first time, they would be seeing a “brand new show!”

IMG_6519Prior to Diemonds even getting up on stage, I had a fleeting thought that I might be a target for Starr and Satchel‘s comedy routine due to my skin colour and since I was so close to the stage. By the time that the duo started their comedy routine talking about how Starr had been gang banged in jail by some “black” guys with big dicks, I just knew that I would become a target and that indeed turned out to be the case. I can’t really recall all that they said since I was laughing so much but Satchel or Starr quickly nicknamed me “Jerome” (must be some sort of typical “black” guy name or something — I missed exactly why I started getting called that name) and of course singled me out as the lone “black” guy in the audience. As the concert kept going, the Jerome jokes kept coming with Starr or Satchel playfully pointing out something to the effect of “Jerome, this is the fourth time now that we have singled you out” and again later in the night, “Jerome, this is the fifth time now that we have singled you out.” It was awesome getting multiple high fives from Starr during the night (perhaps for me being such a good sport) and Satchel even gave me a fist bump late into the band’s set. All I know is that I had a great time getting “picked on.” Funny enough, I tried to explain the situation to my mostly heavy metal hating wife the next morning after the show and she thought that the group was being racist. Alright babe. You just don’t understand the brilliance behind a Steel Panther concert.

IMG_6523Of course, I was not the only target of racial stereotyped humour as a hot oriental lady was hoisted on stage and serenaded by Starr with or subject to the Steel Panther classic “Asian Hooker.” Again, she was a willing participant singing along to all the way throughout the song. It still is fascinating to me to see how many younger people that Steel Panther attract and the fun atmosphere that they are able to create at every show that they headline. As Starr points out, they are bringing a “heavy metal revival” and anyone that attended Steel Panther‘s concert at Maxwell’s on this night should be forgiven if they thought that this was the 1980s all over again. Trust me, I know what the ’80s were like from a fan’s perspective. It boggles my mind that there are so many young people singing all the lyrics to whichever song is played by Steel Panther when some other very good heavy metal bands can only attract a handful of people at their shows in recent times. Trust me. I’ve been there too from a fan’s perspective in recent years. I may sometimes abstain from advising in my concert reviews how many people were in attendance at certain shows (mostly out of respect for the bands) but let’s be clear about this night, Maxwell’s was at capacity since it was the first show that sold out from Steel Panther‘s five Canadian dates.

IMG_6507The great crowd participation continued as Starr got the crowd to repeat after him G-O-L-D-D-I-G-G-I-N-G-W-H-O-R… E as Steel Panther launched into their classic “Gold Digging Whore.” Next up was Satchel‘s guitar solo — a long lost feature of a heavy metal concert that should come back more regularly based on the warm and enthusiastic crowd response that Satchel received for his guitar solo which featured snippets of some of the greatest heavy metal songs ever written. I am sure that most people reading this concert review know by now but Steel Panther are total pros as they have paid their dues playing clubs for a number of years before hitting the “big time.” I perceive Steel Panther to be one of the likely only newer heavy metal acts in the last ten years (Steel Panther‘s debut album Feel The Steel dates back to 2009) to be able to make what has to be a good living playing heavy metal music. I highly doubt that any of the Steel Panther band members have a day job on the side to supplement their Steel Panther derived income.

Steel Panther‘s “Gold Digging Whore” live at Maxwell’s in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada on July 12, 2016:

Steel Panther – Gold Digger – Maxwell’s Waterloo July 12, 2016

Steel Panther at Maxwell’s Music House Waterloo ON July 12, 2016

IMG_6534Getting back to the topic of Steel Panther being true professionals, Starr, Foxx and Zadinia were off the stage while Satchel was performing his guitar solo. Starr came back on stage in a brand new long red coat but all of a sudden ran off the stage back into seemingly the dressing room while the rest of the band launched into “Ten Strikes You’re Out.” When it was Starr started to sing, he was still running back to the stage before taking his spot in the middle of the stage and laughingly exclaiming “I forgot my mike!” Another time, Satchel botched some lyrics or rhymes during a portion of the show before quickly exclaiming how tough it was to do that part or something like that. Total pros! These guys can adapt to any situation and turn it into a humorous encounter every time! Before long, we came to the portion of the show that I can only categorize as organized chaos. A woman was invited onto the stage and all four of the Steel Panther members got up on stage to do silly sexual related rhymes. It was mostly Satchel and Starr exchanging singing rhymes at the woman’s expense but the two that got the most pop from the crowd were Zadinia and Foxx when they each took a turn doing one. After a fun rendition of “Girl From Oklahoma”, it was literally chaos on stage as Starr and Satchel started recruiting many females onto the stage for their classic song “17 Girls In A Row.”

IMG_6544Starr knew just how to connect with the crowd taking a real issue and turning into a positive. Starr pointed out to the crowd that Waterloo doesn’t get many heavy metal shows but Steel Panther were obviously there and Airbourne would be playing in October because they weren’t “pussies” like the rest of them! Starr and Satchel went on to make fun of Waterloo by stating that there were many “famous” people from Waterloo such as people in Eddie Van Halen‘s or Nikki Sixx‘s entourage like I believe a gardener. Eventually, it was mentioned that new guitarist Phil X from Bon Jovi was from Waterloo, and lo and behold, Phil X actually took the stage. Phil X eventually launched into Bon Jovi‘s “You Give Love A Bad Name” before Satchel stopped the song and either he or Starr reprimanded Phil X for playing the song in the wrong key. The ever smiling Phil X redeemed himself by launching into Van Halen‘s “Ain’t Talkin’ About Love” which was followed up with The Kinks‘ (whose song was made famous by Van Halen in my eyes) “You Really Got Me.” Steel Panther closed off their set with their classic “Death To All But Metal” before coming back for their two usual encores — the sing along favorite “Community Property” and the ultimate anthem “Party All Day (Fuck All Night).”

Portions of Steel Panther‘s “You Really Got Me” with Phil X live at Maxwell’s in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada on July 12, 2016:

Steel Panther ft/Phil X – You Really Got Me – Maxwell’s July 12, 2016

Steel Panther Playing Maxwell’s Music House in Waterloo ON July 12, 2016. Local guitar hero Phil X (Frozen Ghost, Triumph, Bon Jovi) got on stage to shred a little VH.

The only real surprise to me was that Steel Panther only played one song (“Ten Strikes You’re Out”) from their last “regular” studio album All You Can Eat (which landed the #2 album on Sleaze Roxx’s Top ten Albums of 2014) — which contains some IMG_6525stellar songs such as “Gloryhole” — or a new song from their latest live acoustic Live From Lexxi’s Mom’s Garage. I was very impressed with Starr commenting near the end of Steel Panther‘s set that the band really appreciated the sold out crowd and the fact that people had paid their hard earned money for highly priced tickets (about $55.00 I believe) before advising the crowd that the group had t-shirts for sale for $35.00 per t-shirt with a “special” of two for $70.00 and so on. You just had to be impressed also with Zadinia being able to catch Starr‘s hat (which was tossed from afar) with a drumstick not once but two times to show that it wasn’t a fluke!

Overall, Steel Panther more than gave everyone their money’s worth in my opinion and proved once again that they are one of the best, if not the best live band out there. These guys really have the total package consisting of great songs, amazing musical talents, unbelievable stage presence and an ability to generate more smiles and laughter from any audience that I have ever seen at any heavy metal concert! I can’t wait for my next Steel Panther concert — wherever that will be! And as far as Maxwell’s is concerned, I enjoyed my experience at the venue so much that I may go see Airbourne play at Maxwell’s in Waterloo rather than in Toronto when the group’s October tour dates come along.

IMG_6546Steel Panther’s setlist (from setlist.fm):
01. Eyes Of A Panther
02. Tomorrow Night
03. Fat Girl (Thar She Blows)
04. Just Like Tiger Woods
05. Let Me Cum In
06. Asian Hooker
07. Gold Digging Whore
08. Guitar Solo
09. Ten Strikes You’re Out
10. Girl From Oklahoma
11. 17 Girls in a Row
12. Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love (Van Halen cover with Phil X)
13. You Really Got Me (The Kinks cover with Phil X)
14. Death To All But Metal
Encores:
15. Community Property
16. Party All Day (Fuck All Night)