Steel Panther Review

On April 6, 2010, in Concert Reviews, by admin

Seems this site is getting back to its basics; music related topics.  While I intend to continue the discussion on the other topics I have written about lately, it is the beginning of concert season.  This means more reviews. The latest is on a rather unique group called Steel Panther. I went to see them last Friday night at House Of Blues in Dallas. This venue looks like every other House of Blues I have been in, so I will not go on about the venue as most of you reading this (except for all of you interesting people who come in from Russia, what’s up with that?) are familiar with HOB.

The opening band was a call The Better Death. This is a local outfit to Dallas. What is it with opening acts lately?  This is the second that I have seen that I did not care for. The music was inconsistent and just plain bad. They are trying to carve out a sound of their own, it is very plan to see. I applaud that, however, you have to have something that is listenable and desired by the audience.  This band had none of this.  Audience reaction was decent, but this was a party crowd who was so eager to get into the headliner that they would have accepted Riverdance as an opening act.  I do not need to say a lot here. They were bad, and that’s it.

I am not much to go to concerts to hear comedy.  Music and comedy rarely mix. But on occasion, it can be a refreshing change, and out right side splitting.  Those of you in Dallas for years may remember the comedy duo of Bowley and Wilson, who had their own club  on Greenville avenue.  They were a band wove original songs into a comedy act (“oh my God, a comedian’s dream, a bald guy in the front row”).  Truly funny.  I had not seen an act like this (the club closed some 15 years ago) until seeing Steel Panther.  They started as a west coast 80’s hair metal cover band. They received much success locally in L.A. They expanded their show by writing and recording a set of original songs that parodied the 80’s hair metal band songs and life styles. The first thing that I noticed is that this is a great sounding band. Check out You Tube, searching for Steel Panther, and you will see several highly produced videos of their parody songs.  Great songs.

Their live performance is mostly these originals with some cover songs from the 80’s hair bands. In person, of course, the song lyrics are a bit harder to understand so the humor gets lost a bit.  Clearly the enthusiastic crowd had visited the Steel Panther website, seen them on You Tube, or purchased their CD. Most people knew the songs as if they had been overplayed on the air. Makes for a decently enthusiastic, a little more rowdy and fun crowd than even the hair bands draw. There is much banter between the members in between songs. Most of it is very funny on the typical, if not somewhat worn out subjects of sex, drugs and rock and roll. The only limitation is the limitation of the subject area.  Many of the jokes are reshuffled repeats of another.  Each band member takes on a persona and runs with it.  From the lead singer and lead guitarists bantering back and forth in 80’s hair band competitive nature (ala Brett Michaels and CC DeVille of Poison) to the base guy who spends nearly every break between the songs looking at himself in a pink mirror. True to form, they all come across sounding a bit dumb or spaced out.

Interestingly, this was billed as an all ages show. HOB may want to think twice on that one when these guys return in May.  The subject area, along with the chicks brought on stage to flash, make this a less than opportunistic ‘all ages’ show.  Not my watch of course, but I know the younger ones in our party were well entranced by the happenings surrounding us.

The covers these guys did were fabulous. Covers of Motley Crue and Guns and Roses were full of sound. The later, they got Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo on stage to sing the chorus with them. This presented the only true annoying part of the show.  It took Romo a good 15 minutes to get on stage from his balcony seat…leaving the band to have to fill in the time. I could have done without…never have been too impressed with celebrities, even when they are in my presence.

The place was pretty much packed, at least on the floor. So this was a very good turn out. But then, as I research the show after the fact, Romo was billed as a special ‘guest host’.  So now I begin to wonder how many may have come out because he was advertised in the bill as well.  Hopefully not many, but it certainly did make for some party pics for the fans enamored by his presence

This was a fun show.  I will go see them again if they return  in May as they indicated on stage Friday.  Check out the Steel Panther website containing their videos, you could use some humor in your life


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