Los Angeles’ own Steel Panther is on the road in support of their new album, “On the Prowl.” Known for their talent – as well as their raunchy lyrics – they delight audiences across the globe with songs like “Community Property,” “Gloryhole,” “Eatin’ Ain’t Cheatin,’” and “The Shocker.”
The glam metal band – or as they call themselves, the “Greatest Heavy Metal Band Ever” – consists of Ralph Saenz / “Michael Starr” (lead vocals); Russ Parrish / “Satchel” (guitar); Darren Leader / “Stix Zadinia” (drums/keyboard); and Joe Lester / “Spyder” (bass). They will hit the OC next month, but we caught them in North Carolina to give you a preview.
The line of Steel Panther fans snaking through the Piedmont Hall parking lot in Greensboro, North Carolina looked something like a 2010 Black Friday waiting to happen. There were no bargains to be fought over, but there was a delay in the doors opening, which gave me time to chat with people around me. The lady behind me was battling stage four cancer and was ready to laugh and let loose – I saw her onstage later that night, living her best life. These are the moments when you realize how powerful music is and how much bands touch the lives of their fans.
The L.A. Maybe, a five-member rock band, was the first opener of the night and they started their set with one of their new songs, “Play Hard.” “When I’m Gone” was dedicated to the band’s close friend who committed suicide back in 2015. They encouraged everyone to reach out to their friends and family and take the time to send a text or make a call to let people know you’re thinking of them.
The second opener, Black Heart Saints, came on a few minutes later and killed it. Their energy was close to that of Greta Van Fleet. Josh Ross, the lead singer, did multiple jump kicks; whoever said white men can’t jump hasn’t seen Ross. Ok, it may not be that epic, but it was pretty cool.
The microphone stand was like his own little baton, the way he flung it around while singing. Drummer Nathan Flores had everyone captivated. He had a high-powered fan blowing towards his face, making his hair jump around like it was a wild beast attached to his skull. Think Adam Sandler’s skit about the beard in his film “Just Go With It,” but not in a mean way. That, combined with his facial expressions while he jammed, made him stand out and turned him into a fan favorite. At the merch table, I saw Black Heart Saints sold drumsticks and after seeing Flores perform, I understood why those were so popular.
Black Heart Saints started their set with “Lines,” then played “Crazy,” “Reach the End,” and “Misery.” They talked a bit about their new single, “Human Xstacy,” before they played it. They asked the crowd to sing along as they played a cover of “Lonely is the Night.” They took a selfie with the crowd before they left the stage, but did return for an encore of sorts: At the end of their set, they added on an extra song that wasn’t on their list and treated the audience to “High Road,” which is one of their newer songs.
It only took about 20 minutes for Steel Panther to set up as their staging was minimal, consisting only of a large drum set. But their logo, in all its glory, made the stage pop. Music was playing over the speakers as the band took the stage. Michael Starr screamed and bam!, ready or not, they were hitting it hard with “Goin’ in the Back Door.” “Tomorrow Night” and “Asian Hooker” were next.
Starr had on leopard print pants and a fringe sleeved jacket he quickly discarded. He teased the other band members while onstage, flicking Satchel’s hair and flipping the microphone away from Spyder, the newest member of the band (replacing Lexxi Fox as bass player). Drummer Stix did a funny impersonation of Def Leppard drummer, Rick Allen, midway through the set which ended with a little satire from the other members. They made a lot of funny jabs towards one another during their show.
After they played one of their newer songs, “Never Too Late,” they were joking about Starr breaking his microphone. Before Satchel could kick Starr off the stage, there was some commotion at the front that the security guards had to handle. Satchel piped up and said not to worry, that if the girls were fighting over him, he could “f” them both. Spyder distracted them by throwing what he called “little boobie bites” out to the crowd. Starr left the stage for a bit to change and returned as Ozzy Osborne. They played “Crazy Train” and Starr even had a little stuffed bat he pretended to bite the head off of.
All of the members, except for Satchel, left the stage after “Crazy Train.” Satchel stayed on and performed a long guitar solo. He showed off a lot of different techniques, did a few riffs, and even went up to the drums to incorporate those into it.
When the solo was over, the band played “Weenie.” For this song, they brought one girl on stage, serenaded her, and she flashed her boobs at the crowd. Any other girl who wanted to go onstage and dance with the band was brought up for “17 Girls in a Row.” A couple of them also flashed the crowd and grinded against the band as they played. For the encore, Steel Panther played “Community Property” and “Glory Hole.”
Starr and Satchel had a lot of banter and spoke to the crowd frequently during their 90-minute set. Overall, the performance was half show and half music.
Satchel polled the crowd to see how many have seen them perform in person before and then told those that had never seen them it was about time they all got their heads out of their asses. Towards the end of “Glory Hole,” they played catch with Starr’s hat with Stix catching it on one of his drumsticks, Spyder catching it on the microphone stand, and Satchel catching it on his guitar. It was also thrown on and off the stage.
If you’re not easily offended, you will find yourself laughing a lot and admire the raunchy things the band can get away with saying to the crowd. They are talented, but it’s their comedic gestures and inappropriate lyrics that earned Steel Panther their many fans. SoCal residents can see them in person for their On the Prowl Tour at the House of Blues in Anaheim on February 25th, Whisky a Go Go in West Hollywood on April 6th and 7th, and the House of Blues San Diego on April 8th.