Steel Panther have rocked my balls off since I first checked them out a few years back at the Key Club in Los Angeles under their old name, Metal Skool. (As the picture above illustrates, I also caught their recent Toronto show where I got the chance to snap a series of devil horn pictures with the guys.) Their high-octane, big haired, balls-to-the-wall vintage 80's metal show needs to be experienced to be fully understood and appreciated. I went in expect to enjoy it in a campy, ironic way and instead walked out covered in sweat, drunk off my ass with a big smile plastered on my face. It ended up being one of the funnest concerts I've ever been to. It's pitch-perfect, hilarious and the set list is made up of their ass-kicking originals (with such metal-friendly titles as 'Stripper Girl,' 'Asian Hooker' and 'Eatin' Ain't Cheatin'.) and augmented by a slew of 80's hair metal songs that you didn't even know you liked until you catch yourself singing a long at the top of your lungs. The band have obvious musical chops - lead vocalist Michael Starr used to front L.A. Guns - and they all deliver a solid live show, but my favorite is Bassist Lexxi Foxxx (Bottom right in the above picture, and yes, that's not a typo, the man has a whopping five x's in his name) who incorporates into his stage show the ultimate metal display by having his own wind machine just off stage to showcase his flowing blonde locks.
Part of the brilliance of the Steel Panther live is how the band members stay in character throughout. Frozen in time, they exist in a world where hair metal still rules all, Grunge never arrived, and part of the badge or honor of being in a big band was excessive use of cocaine, rampant unprotected sex with the sea of bimbos that work their way backstage and looking good on stage was significantly more important then sounding good on stage. They deliver the music straight-faced - and their talent speaks for itself - but between songs the on-stage banter is like a much dirtier version of Spinal Tap. While that movie lampooned the metal of the 1970's and early 80's, Steel Panther set their sights on the mid to late 80's when "hair metal" was prominent and teased hair and makeup were a big part of the equation. To get a flavor for the comedy of the band, check out the video below. It's a ten minute interview with Steel Panther lead guitarist Satchel that he did with UK metal site Thrash Hits. It's long - but it's funny. Check it out: