STEEL PANTHER PUT ON PHENOMENAL CONCERT AT ANOTHER SOLD OUT VENUE
Date: December 2, 2019
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I laughed — a lot. I smiled throughout. I sung along to most of the lyrics. I raised my fists in the air too many times to remember. I clapped my hands. I waved my hands along with the rest of the crowd. I got one of Lexxi Foxx‘s bass picks. I simply had a fantastic time at my 12th Steel Panther concert. I love that Steel Panther consistency and continually tour, and every year, it seems that I am able to catch them two times live within a one-hour radius of Toronto. This year was no exception as Steel Panther hit the city of Barrie (about one hour north of Toronto) back in mid-June and returned to play Rebel (previously known as Sound Academy), which is apparently their favourite Toronto venue.
Unlike other concerts that make their way to Toronto, I knew that I had to get there early if I wanted any chance of being close to the front of the stage. Funny enough, my wife had planned a family getaway for the nights of December 1 and 2, 2019 at a location about 1.5 hours away from Toronto but luckily the addition of our toy poodle two summers ago meant that one of us would have to get back home for at least one night to take care of the dog. I happily volunteered knowing that I had a Steel Panther concert to go to on December 2nd. Toronto and its vicinity had been hit with a freezing rain storm so I thought that it might take me a lot longer to get home but it was actually the opposite as traffic was very light due to the bad weather conditions and I made my way to downtown Toronto (with a stop to say “hi” to the dog along the way) in very good time. I arrived at the Rebel venue at 7:15 pm or so. The doors were scheduled to open at 7:00 pm so there were already quite a few people inside the venue. Nevertheless, I was able to make it within two rows of the front of the stage, which I thought was pretty good considering what time I got there.
Stitched Up Heart:
Although the Rebel venue always has an incredible atmosphere when Steel Panther are playing, I actually prefer when the band plays cities about one hour away from Toronto because the group usually brings better (to my ears) but lesser known opening bands to those tour stops. In fact, Steel Panther make it a point to bring local Canadian talent with them on those tour dates. In the past, I’ve been able to see Striker (in Barrie in June 2019), The Wild! (in Waterloo in September 2018) and Diemonds (in Waterloo in July 2016). Interestingly enough, Steel Panther used to have local Canadian talent (for example, Diemonds in 2012) open for them at Rebel (previously the Sound Academy) but since 2014, it has seemingly always been acts from the Los Angeles area that in my mind, don’t quite fit in musically with what Steel Panther play or in other words, bands that Sleaze Roxx would not cover. Over the years, I’ve seen the following bands open for Steel Panther at the Rebel (previously the Sound Academy) venue — Future Villains in 2014 and 2015, Wilson in 2016 (there was an additional opener that night consisting of Canadian rockers The Maysides), Diamante in 2017 and this time around, Stitched Up Heart. It’s not that I didn’t like these bands’ live performances but each of them play a style of heavy metal music that I don’t really listen to so it’s a bit of a downer to have those American bands open for Steel Panther in Toronto.
Having never heard of Stitched Up Heart before, I did a quick search on Facebook to find out more about them while waiting for the group to make its way to the stage. I was pleased to see that Stitched Up Heart were fronted by female vocalist Mixi. The singer turned out to be a hot blonde bombshell dressed in what appeared to be a long black trench coat who sported super long blonde hair. The group was rounded up by guitarist Merritt, drummer Decker and bassist Randy. If I did not know any better, I would have thought that Randy was the frontman of the group as he often stepped up on what appeared to be monitors to tower over his bandmates and grab the audience’s attention. Nevertheless, with a female vocalist as visually stunning as Mixi and her tendency to headbang with her blonde locks flying all over the place, it seems that most eyes were on her for most of the band’s set. About halfway through Stitched Up Heart‘s set, I was wondering how come guitarist Merritt seemed almost invisible up on stage but I eventually realized that the band’s songs were seemingly devoid of any guitar solos. That and the fact that Mixi and Randy were vying for a lot of attention with their respective performances relinquished the guitarist to a rather small supporting role, kind of like what you get with Ian Hill in Judas Priest. The veteran band’s long-time bassist might be on stage all night but all eyes are seemingly focused on frontman Rob Halford and guitarist Richie Faulkner. I did notice that Merritt‘s guitar had eight strings, which is a bit of a novelty.
A few songs from Stitched Up Heart caught my attention, notably the second track “Warrior”, “Catch Me When I Fall”, “Lost” (which had a tall dreadlocked man participating on lead vocals) and the set closer “Monster.” While Stitched Up Heart put on a good live performance and clearly, Mixi looked like she was having a lot of fun up on stage, I was glad that the band played a pretty short set and that we could move on to the main course.
Steel Panther know how to get a crowd going and the music from the P.A. system, while the crowd waited for them to hit the stage, was playing one classic after another with Judas Priest‘s “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'”, Dio‘s “Holy Diver”, KISS‘ “Lick It Up”, Autograph‘s “Turn Up The Radio”, Whitesnake‘s “Here I Go Again”, Ozzy Osbourne‘s “Shot In The Dark” and about half of AC/DC‘s “Highway To Hell” sparking many concert attendees to sing along to the various songs’ lyrics. Whitesnake‘s “Here I Go Again” seemed to get the loudest sing along and I thought that the songs played really helped to get the crowd pumped up just before Steel Panther were to hit the stage. Before long, Van Halen‘s classic “Everybody Wants Some” was blaring through the P.A. and all of a sudden, drummer Stix Zadinia came out from behind the curtain to take his place at his drum kit.
Steel Panther kicked off their set with the very engaging “Eyes of A Panther.” I was surprised to hear “Let Me Cum In” make its welcomed way back into their set. Next up was the comedy exchange between guitarist Satchel and frontman Michael Starr. Their attention would get diverted by the many young ladies in attendance showing off their “boobs” to the band members. Satchel and Starr were more than happy to stop what they were saying and put the attention on those female participants whenever a “boob” sighting occurred. As usual, the introduction to the band members took place right after the second song with Satchel referring to his other band members as his “employees.” I can’t remember all that was said but Satchel took a funny dig at Mötley Crüe frontman Vince Neil while introducing Starr to the audience. I believe that Satchel indicated that Starr was still able to fit into his spandex pants that dated back to 1981 or so which wasn’t the case for Neil. It was kind of funny knowing the rather petty comments that Nikki Sixx had hurled Steel Panther‘s way of late after the former heard that Starr had “insulted” (really made a joke about) Neil‘s singing (or lack of it) during an interview. By the way, I’d much rather go see Steel Panther perform live any day than Mötley Crüe.
Despite giving a lukewarm review for Steel Panther‘s new studio album Heavy Metal Rules, I thought that many of the songs on the record could come alive in a live setting and that was indeed the case on this night. Before the third song of the evening which turned out to be the new album’s first single (and one of the better songs) “All I Wanna Do Is Fuck (Myself Tonight)”, Starr indicated to the audience that he rarely asked them to do stuff but that he’d love if they all started jumping at the start of the song and many people in the audience obliged him in that regard (of note, that might have actually occurred before the song “Let Me Cum In”). “All I Wanna Do Is Fuck (Myself Tonight)” had what seemed like the entire audience brandishing their fists in the air whenever the song lyrics got to “Fuck Myself Tonight.” Clearly, this is a song that will be in Steel Panther‘s set for many years to come. I was also impressed with the new song “Fuck Everybody” which also had the crowd singing along. Then again, how can the audience not participate when you just have to scream “Fuck! Fuck!”? The surprise of the night was the ballad “I Ain’t Buying What You’re Selling” which had seemingly the entire audience pull out their cell phones at Starr‘s request. It was a beautiful moment and one of the highlights of the night.
Steel Panther performing “Let Me Cum In” live at Rebel in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on December 2, 2019:
As is customary at a Steel Panther concert, the group eventually found a willing female fan who was willing to show her “boobs” and come up on stage to be serenaded. A female by the name of “Delora” (?) made her way to the stage and wanted to partake in a little singing at one point. It appeared that “Delora” was prepared for the moment as she started singing a line about her childhood or something like that in an almost soprano like voice before Starr quickly took the microphone back from her. At one point during (I believe) the classic “Weenie Ride”, “Delora” started making her way off the stage without any warning. Satchel stopped the song and asked her what she was doing. The guitarist advised her that she had to participate (i.e. be on stage) for two songs so to get back to where she had been. It was one of many funny moments during the evening. Eventually, a whole bevy of females made their way up on stage as the group tore through “Party All Day (Fuck All Night)” and perhaps also “17 Girls In A Row” (my memory is fuzzy on whether the ladies were still up on stage for that song).
During the latter parts of the concert, I suddenly felt a little pinch on my chest and I knew instantly from past experience that a guitar pick must have been flung my way. It didn’t seem that anyone noticed and I started surveying the ground before picking up a cool Lexxi Foxx guitar (or I guess bass) pick. This pinching sensation on my chest occurred one more time a little bit later on but I gave my cards away on that occasion as I bent down to hopefully pick up what seem to be a guitar pick only to realize that it was a piece of paper. You have to realize that it was quite dark inside the venue. That prompted a couple of other guys near me to start looking at the floor themselves and eventually one guy found the pick in question. In any case, I wouldn’t have found the pick as it landed a couple of sets of feet away from me.
Steel Panther performing “Weenie Ride” live at Rebel in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on December 2, 2019:
As Steel Panther closed off their stellar set, Starr thanked the audience for another sell out and noted that they had opened up the balcony (which was sparsely attended) due to the high demand. Steel Panther closed off the evening with their classics “Community Property” and “Death To All But Metal” before returning for one encore — “Gloryhole.” At the end of the night, Starr, Satchel, Foxx and Zadinia had a little routine where Starr would toss his hat from one end of the stage to the other with Satchel supposed to catch the hat with the end of the neck of his guitar. Unfortunately, Satchel keep screwing up so there were multiple funny attempts in that regard. It was supposed to end with Zadinia catching Starr‘s hat but I believe that the drummer messed up too so the whole routine was started until all of the band members succeeded. It was fine example of never giving up until you succeed! Overall, Steel Panther put on another killer performance and I already can’t wait to see them again live in concert.
Steel Panther’s setlist on December 2, 2019:
01. Eyes of A Panther
02. Let Me Cum In
03. All I Wanna Do Is Fuck (Myself Tonight)
04. Asian Hooker
05. Party Like Tomorrow Is The End of The World
06. Poontang Boomerang
07. Guitar Solo
08. Fuck Everybody
09. I Ain’t Buying What You’re Selling
10. Weenie Ride
11. Party All Day (Fuck All Night)
12. 17 Girls In A Row
13. Community Property
14. Death To All But Metal
Steel Panther performing “Weenie Ride” live at Rebel in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on December 2, 2019: