This was a weird one for me. I’d heard about Steel Panther through a friend that lives in LA. She told me that I was ever down to visit, we HAD to go and see Steel Steel Panther because they are hilarious. I looked them up and they did look like they’d be super entertaining and fun.
Right? Full on ridiculous 80’s glam metal send up awesomeness. All the bands I listened to a one point or another along the way. Motley Crue, Guns n Roses, Poison, Def Leppard. You know them all. I love the idea of Steel Panther too. The guys are playing it like they’ve been trying to hit the big time since the 80’s so they are sort of stuck in a time loop. I thought they played covers but they actually have 4 albums out of original stuff. A couple of the dudes started off playing in a Van Halen cover band and then used that as a springboard to start up Steel Panther. They’ve been playing on the LA strip since 1999. I gotta give them some credit. A parody band that actually records original music and makes a living touring is pretty unheard of. Kudos, boys.
They played at Rebel in Toronto which used to be called The Docks and then Sound Academy so this is definitely the coolest version so far. We decided to eat at the Cherry Street Bar-B-Que before we ventured over and were really happy with that decision. Truly great brisket but they could use a little work on their sides. The sides that we chose were a little on the bland side. Just sayin.
We got to Rebel about at about 8 and heard music all the way outside. It was freakin’ loud and I’m soooo glad that Short remembered to bring ear plugs. They had two openers. The first was a pop band that was young and energetic but I didn’t care. Is that bad? I was really just there for Steel Panther. When the second band mounted the stage (Wilson from Detroit), I just wanted them to be done. I’m not the most patient person anymore. Wilson were actually really good. Loud, bombastic and anthemy with a great frontman and a lot of hooks. But I wasn’t familiar with their material and, like I said, I just wanted to see Steel Panther so on with the show!
Finally, the boys took the stage.
Lead singer – Michael Starr
Lead guitar – Satchel
Bass guitar – Lexxi Foxx
And drummer – Stix Zadinia (get it?)
The guys are really really good. They opened with Eyes Of A Panther and it became obvious that the band are super solid musicians teamed with the perfect 80’s voice. Their on stage banter was hilarious. They poked fun at themselves and had the audience laughing along with them. Lexxi Fox was checking himself out using a hand mirror while a fan blew his hair around. Awesome. So, I’m digging it. But then things started to turn for me. First there was a girl perched up on her boyfriend’s shoulders and Satchel convinced her to take off her top so we could see her boobs. I’m saying boobs but I’m pretty sure he said tits. Ew. The crowd cheered and laughed and I’ve seen women do that at other rock shows before so, no biggie. But I felt a little weird about it. Then Michael Starr pulled a beautiful leather clad girl up onto the stage and the crowd laughed and cheered again. I did too. Until I started listening to the lyrics. The song was called Asian Hooker and he had chosen an unsuspecting Asian fan. He pulled her around the stage and sang things like, “wrap her tuna roll on my dick and the bitch is on her knees” or “sucky fucky, smells like sushi”. Um. Really? Offensive on so many levels. And, I know that’s the point but she looked as uncomfortable as I felt. I know that they’re trying to send up those 80’s bands that toured and did coke and plowed through chicks and did all kinds of crazy shit. I get it. I’m not one to point out misogyny. I listen to Howard Stern for god’s sake. So, I was confused by my feelings and, thankfully, we left a few songs later because we felt like we got the joke and it was just repeating itself.
Once I had time to reflect, I realized something. None of the bands in the 80’s, yelled at the girls to take their tops off. The girls did it voluntarily and then everyone cheered. When Motley Crue came up with the song, Girls, Girls, Girls, the most offensive lyric was “Yankee girls ya just can’t beat but they’re the best when they’re off their feet”. When Howard Stern has porn actresses or call girls on his show, he treats them just like he treats celebrities. He’s interested in their stories and who they are as people. He’s respectful. And that’s the difference. Again, I know these guys are a comedy act. But I could tell from the stage banter that they are quick witted funny dudes. It’s a shame that they can’t use their smarts to come up with funny lyrics that don’t sound like they think women should be treated like crap. The band is really talented and they’ve got a following so I guess they know their audience. But so does Donald Trump. Know what I mean? Just because it works, doesn’t mean it’s right.