The 1980s were crazy times. Spandex, big hair, and Aqua Net were de rigueur, while an over-the-top lifestyle and self-indulgence were expected from the rock stars of the day. At the House of Blues Anaheim, it was a celebration of all of these things and more.
For one, the most outrageous glam-metal band in the land, LA’s own Steel Panther was celebrating the release of a new album, “On the Prowl.” Plus, this was just night two of a massive world tour.
Drenched in red lights and decorated with inflatable sex dolls and penises, one glance at the stage made it obvious tonight’s show was not intended for children, the faint of heart, or the easily offended.
Getting the evening started was a New York City band, Tragedy, that describes themselves as an “all-metal tribute to the Bee Gees and beyond.” Their stage attire was anything but the usual; guitarist Mo’Royce Peterson came out in silver lamé hot pants, and lead singer Disco Mountain Man was wearing a sparkly, fringed western shirt. They kicked it off with their version of “Tragedy” from Bee Gees and a reimagined edition of ABBA’s “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight).”
With their next song, “Sweet Caroline,” they showed what Tragedy does best – reimagine soft rock, disco, and pop classics, and turning them into headbanging heavy metal perfections. They continued with the disco hit from The Weather Girls, “It’s Raining Men,” and the “Grease” classic, “You’re the One That I Want,” before ending their set with shredding versions of Bee Gees’ “How Deep is Your Love” and “Staying Alive.”
Staying with the over-the-top metal theme was Crobot, a band hailing from Pennsylvania. They started their set by taking a page in theatrics from the Alice Cooper playbook: an electric chair set center stage with a man strapped in, as a “mad scientist” paraded around shouting, eventually bringing his creature to life. After a fair amount of sparks and smoke, lead singer Brandon Yeagley burst out of the chair, ready to rock and roll, fittingly enough to their song “Electrified.”
In addition to Yeagley, Crobot is Chris Bishop on guitar, Tim Peugh on bass, and Dan Ryan on drums. They have a heavy groove, stoner rock sound. Yeagley takes command of the stage and is all over the place, shaking his knees in and out like Elvis and using the mic stand to dramatic effect. Their set leaned heavily towards songs off their latest album, “Feel This,” but they also threw in some earlier favorites like “Gasoline” and “Drown,” and they closed with “Without Wings.”
It was obvious who the fans in the front row were here to see, as most had their fanatic attire on – Steel Panther headbands and wristbands, bushy long hair wigs, even light-up blinking cowboy hats. As the house lights went out, a loud cheer erupted, and the recorded intro played asking fans, “Are you ready for the greatest night of your life?”
The curtains parted to a large riser, smoke, and bright lights with the members of Steel Panther in all their glory. Satchel (Russ Parrish), Stix (Darren Leader), and the newest member, Spyder (Joe Lester). Front-man Michael Starr (Ralph Saenz) pranced out and began singing about a girl who has the “Eyes of a Panther,” possibly the tamest song lyrically of the night.
The lyrics to the next song, “Let Me Cum In,” make no bones about its subject matter. Definitely not the song you want to play for your grandma, but funny as hell. The same goes for their next song, “Asian Hooker.”
Steel Panther is unique in that their genres are both metal and comedy, and totally saturated in sex. “All I Wanna Do” is a song that illustrates that point precisely. I can’t go into the lyrics here, but you can imagine what it is that is all he wants to do.
If there was ever a mission statement for Steel Panther, it would be “Death to All but Metal,” calling out everyone from Goo Goo Dolls to Blink-182, and letting them know exactly what it is that they can suck on. It’s got an anathematic sing-along that most metal fans can relate to.
After “1987,” the big power ballad from the new album, they brought gentleman named Tim Cherry onstage. Cherry sang all of the Motley Crue songs in the Netflix movie, “The Dirt.” Cherry and Steel Panther played an outstanding version of “Shout at the Devil.”
With such big personalities, fan interactions have always been a Steel Panther highlight. Tonight’s included a young lady invited on stage to get “skanky with them” for “Girl from Oklahoma,” and later, the stage was filled with lovely ladies dancing along to “Never Too Late (To Get Some Pussy Tonight),” which is the first single off the new album.
They closed their set with “Party All Day” only to be coaxed back out for an encore of “Community Property,” then closed with “Glory Hole,” which is both hilarious and scandalous at the same time. Fans were waving their arms back and forth in unison, and the band walked to the front of the stage, took a bow together, and said goodnight to a very satisfied crowd.
People often say they were born in the wrong era, and the hedonistic ‘80s are a time people long to visit, if only for an evening. That’s a trip Steel Panther can definitely deliver on; suddenly it’s a night at Gazzarri’s on the Sunset Strip. Or perhaps for some, it could be the joy of escaping the depressing reality of today by celebrating being loud and raunchy with all the joys of “sex, drugs, and rock and roll,” if only for the night.