Live Review: Steel Panther – The Big Top, Sydney (17.06.16)

Last night, 80’s parody band Steel Panther rocked The Big Top in Sydney’s Luna Park. If you’ve heard even one Steel Panther song, you know exactly what to expect from their live performance and god, I hope for their sake there was not a single feminist without a sense of humour in the audience.

The band kicked off their set with confronting charisma, beginning with their staple opener, “Eye of the Panther” and wearing spandex pants that left absolutely nothing to the imagination. I’m confident that I could describe to you in excruciating detail the outline of Michael Starr’s balls.

A Steel Panther show is not just a balls-out (seriously) rock concert, but a comedy act as well. The Aqua Net-coated group spouted classic lines like, “I used to live in Adelaide and my grandmother would cook…crystal meth for the whole family” complained (justifiably) about the outrageous cocaine prices in Sydney, and suggested that Australians put Vegemite on their balls. (Aussies, can we confirm or deny this? Show of hands.)

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The band took on the roles of over-the-top 80’s rock stars with unwavering credibility. The reason Steel Panther continues to draw so many young fans is because they bring the energy that their predecessors have begun to retire. Convincingly utilising stereotypical gimmicks with self-depreciating awareness has allowed this band to flourish where the originals have tired out.

Bass player Lexxi Foxx—sporting the best hair in the band—when not attached to his guitar, was glued to his hand mirror. Guitarist Satchel referred to every girl in the audience as a “slut”. Drummer Stix contributed to a “gu-drum solo” executed with Satchel. And “our very own chubby Bret Michaels”, Michael Starr commanded the audience primarily using the hypnotic power of his gyrating crotch.

Ignoring that (if you can), the band is actually made up of incredible musicians. The “third best front man in the room”, Michael Starr’s voice is as good live as recorded, a rare feat for high-hitting 80’s rock stars. Starr was backed by a rhythm section that created more fullness than many bands boasting twice as many guitars, and this left room for Satchel to display a shredding virtuoso that would stand up to the best of 80’s axemen.

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The climax of the show, or rather, 17 of them, came in the form of a parade of young, uninhibited females who were chosen from the “splash zone” and brought on stage as Starr belted out his eclectic and “totally true” track, “Seventeen Girls in a Row”. With only the slightest of convincing, these girls exposed all of their previously (barely) covered bits to the crowd, and you’d be hard pressed to have looked anywhere and not found a pair of boobs. 80’s metal at its finest.

After the band played hits like “Gloryhole” and “Gangbang at the Old Folk’s Home” they encored with ballad “Community Property” and rock anthem, “Party All Day”. The audience left the circus venue satisfied, turned on, and with the vision of Michael Starr’s crotch etched permanently into their brains. If anyone had lit a match as the show ended, Sydney would have lost all of its 80’s rock fans in one fatal hair-sprayed blow.


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