STEEL PANTHER PUT ON ANOTHER GREAT SHOW AND PERFORMANCE
Date: December 6, 2017
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
As has become tradition, Steel Panther made their yearly headline stop at the venue Rebel (previously Sound Academy) in Canada’s largest city Toronto. This was going to be my fifth time seeing the band play at this venue (and ninth time overall) and frankly, each time, they absolutely put on a great and entertaining performance. Tonight was no exception as the band met and even exceeded my lofty expectations. If there is one thing that I know, after leaving a Steel Panther concert, I always leave with a big smile on my face and feeling that I have been thoroughly entertained having got more than my money’s worth. Steel Panther are also perhaps the only band where I really enjoy listening to their albums even more after one of their concerts because their performance is fresh in my mind and I can visualize myself at the concert while listening to the band’s songs afterwards.
It’s so funny to me how it seems that many consider Steel Panther a “joke band” or a “parody band” because they are so entertaining and so talented musically speaking. Is there any better singer than Michael Starr out there right now for a “hair metal” type band? And what about Satchel? He’s simply one of the most underrated guitarists who can seemingly play anything despite many distractions while on stage. The rhythm tandem of bassist Lexxi Foxx and drummer Stix Zadinia is also solid as a rock providing the bedrock for Starr and Satchel to shine. These guys are not one hit wonders by any means either having paid their dues and more. Satchel has played with some of the best including guitar wizard Paul Gilbert, Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford (on Fight‘s debut War Of Worlds) and Dokken bassist Jeff Pilson (on War & Peace) dating back to the early ’90s. Starr has been singing for a long time including for the band Long Gone in the early ’90s, the Van Halen tribute band Atomic Punks and even L.A. Guns (on the 1999 EP Wasted). All this to say is that yes, Steel Panther put on a great show in front of an enthusiastic audience but it’s after years of experience and paying their dues, and in Satchel‘s case, learning from some of the best in the business.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it on time for the start of opening act Diamante‘s set but I did catch the group’s last few songs. Clearly, female singer Diamante Azzura was the focal point of the group. The apparently 21 year old female was dressed in a sharp red body suit and boasted long light blue hair. It was hard not to keep my eyes focused on the intriguing female frontwoman. My main concern while listening to Diamante was admittedly to get closer to the front (without being a total asshole about it). I got to about eight rows back of the front barrier and simply waited for Diamante to finish their set. The songs themselves were alright on a first listen but didn’t exactly compel me to purchase any music from the female fronted group. Fast forwarding a little, I was impressed with the entire Diamante band hanging out upstairs checking out Steel Panther‘s set and presumably learning from the best. In addition, Diamante‘s female singer was a good sport as she was the recipient of quite a few pointed jokes from Satchel and Starr while watching Steel Panther‘s set.
Shortly after Diamante finished their set, I was able to get within two to three rows of the front barrier. I was hoping to hook up with Sleaze Roxx writer Mark Hovarth and one-time guest Sleaze Roxx photographer Allan but alas, my internet connection suddenly wasn’t working on my cell phone. Funny how a few steps forward killed my internet connection. Given that I did not want to lose my spot, I resigned myself to hopefully connecting with Mark and Allan after the show. The wait seemed pretty long before Steel Panther hit the stage but at least, the P.A. system was playing one “hair metal” classic after another. By the time that KISS‘ anthem “I Love It Loud” was playing, the Steel Panther band members were making their way onto the stage. One thing is that I never bother checking Steel Panther‘s setlist in advance of their shows knowing that they have an abundance of great songs to choose from. This time, Steel Panther kicked things off with “Supersonic Sex Machine” and “Tomorrow Night” from their Balls Out album. As usual, the band members were full of energy while providing tons of comedy laden banter.
As always seems to be the case, after the first two songs of Steel Panther‘s set, guitarist Satchel and lead vocalist Michael Starr embarked on their extended comic routine, which had me laughing and smiling the whole time. Any topic can be used as comic fodder at a Steel Panther concert from Starr (purposely) stating the wrong city name and getting chastised for it, to Satchel introducing Starr as a chubby David Lee Roth and skinny Vince Neil, to the group doing a very good heavy metal version of Canadian rocker Bryan Adams‘ mega-hit “Summer Of ’69.” After each band member had been introduced, it was time for some music once again. I was glad to see Steel Panther play four songs from their new album Lower The Bar after the obligatory “Asian Hooker” as I don’t want the band members to get stuck playing songs from their first two albums for the rest of their career like many other bands end up doing. In any case, although Feel The Steel may always be the ultimate Steel Panther album, the group is still churning out some great songs on every one of its studio albums. I especially liked the live renditions of “Poomtang Boomerang” and the easy to sing along “That’s When You Came In” from Lower The Bar.
One slightly disappointing segment of the show was Satchel‘s guitar solo. It’s not that it wasn’t entertaining because it was and the man is an exceptional guitar player but I would have loved to hear one or two more songs rather than listen to a guitar solo. That being said, the part where Satchel got behind the drum kit and played the drums with one foot while playing guitar and snippets of well known hits such as Guns N’ Roses‘ “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and Black Sabbath‘s “Iron Man” was a lot of fun. Before long, it was time for Steel Panther to bring a female from the audience up to the stage to serenade her and this time around, it was the group’s Christmas song “The Stocking Song” which was used for the occasion. Along the way, we got to hear drummer Stix Zadinia do an absolutely stellar intro to the one that you would hear in a strip club when a stripper hits the stage.
From then on, it was really one big hit after another. With what seemed like about 25 women on stage (or perhaps just 17), Steel Panther ripped through “17 Girls In A Row” and “Gloryhole.” Given that women were climbing or getting pulled over the front barrier before getting pushed up to the stage beforehand, I was finally able to get to the barrier and a front row view of the stage. The excitement continued as Steel Panther closed off their set with “Death To All But Metal” which had seemingly everyone singing along while proclaiming the heavy metal mantra. Eventually, the Steel Panther band members made it back onto the stage and it was no surprise what was going to be the last two songs. “Community Property” seemed to have the biggest crowd sing along, which was acknowledged by Starr and the party could only end with “Party All Day (Fuck All Night).” The three most impressive things in my eyes on this night were Starr‘s singing which is second to none, the abilities of the tandem of Satchel and Starr to think quickly on their feet to come up with some improv comedy when needed, and how appreciative that seemingly Steel Panther were of the crowd reaction and support despite being in “performance mode.”
Once again, I came into a Steel Panther concert expecting the world and the group exceeded my lofty expectations. I can’t wait to see Steel Panther live again! Hopefully, they’ll be back within a few hours of Toronto in the next six months. The next morning, Steel Panther posted the following message on their Facebook page about their Toronto show: “TORONTO!!! You rode us hard and put us away wet. Thanks to everyone who came out to party at REBEL last night!!” I included the photo that Steel Panther posted on Facebook to give you, the reader, an idea of the crowd size (likely about 2,000) that the band played to.
Steel Panther’s setlist:
01. Supersonic Sex Machine
02. Tomorrow Night
03. Asian Hooker
04. Goin’ In The Backdoor
05. Wasted Too Much Time
06. Poontang Boomerang
07. Guitar Solo
08. That’s When You Came In
09. The Stocking Song
10. 17 Girls In A Row
12. Death To All But Metal
13. Community Property
14. Party All Day (Fuck All Night)
Satchel‘s guitar solo at Steel Panther concert at Rebel in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on December 6, 2017:
Satchels Guitar Solo From Rebel in Toronto Dec 6th 2017