Last Tuesday I discovered the secret to time travel. Okay, not really, but I did go to the Metropolis in Montreal to see the satirical glam metal act, Steel Panther. Everything was Venom patches on jean jackets, tight leather pants, big hair, and as much leopard print as could be packed into one room. If you’re one of those people who think that 80s fashion should have died a slow painful death a long time ago, well, you’re right, but it was still fun to see the detail which many went to pay it homage.
Detroit’s Citizen Zero started the night off with some rocking riffs to a relatively tame crowd. To be fair, Tuesday isn’t exactly known for being the night to turn up, despite the ILoveMakonnen song which tries to make a case for the contrary. Their stage décor was minimal but still very eye catching; behind the band, their name was lit up in fluorescent bulbs that only flashed once towards the end but otherwise remained steady.
They do a catchy sort of riff-based, heavy rock, mostly due to their singer Josh LeMay who has one hell of a voice. Seriously, you should hear this guy sing, he knows how to do it. They rocked the obligatory ballad in the form of “Go (Let me Save You)” and showcased their ability to sound a little like Pearl Jam on their closing number “Save the Queen” (good guy Citizen Zero wants to save everyone), both of which are now my new favorite arena songs. They even managed to get the crowd singing “Come on, come on, come on, come on, baby” during a cover of Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold” after explicitly stating that they’re not happy with the current political situation in their home country. Hmmm, denouncing a republican president and then paying tribute to the Nuge; isn’t there like, a law against that?
Anyone who cannot appreciate the absolute lowest of low brow humour should give Steel Panther a wide birth. This band (which incidentally used to go by the name Danger Kitty, so there’s that) mimics the lifestyles of bands like Motley Crue and Poison in the most unceremoniously vulgar way possible. The sound of a Panther’s roar echoed throughout the auditorium and the boys came out rocking “Eyes of a Panther,” all dressed in the shiniest tights with the biggest hair possible. Drummer Stix Zadinia wore a shirt which read “Here Bitch.” Classy stuff. They showcased just how far they’re willing to go to spoof their beloved 80s heroes; examples of that were songs “Goin in the Backdoor,” during which singer Michael Starr gave his ass an exaggerated smack to emphasize the meaning of the oh-so-subtle metaphor, and “Asian Hookah,” where they brought a girl on stage who looked to be Asian but, to their apparent dismay, turned out to be Mexican. She had the time of her life, don’t worry.
In between songs the set turned into a multi-man stand-up routine that would have made Andrew “Dice” Clay proud, or possibly made him squirm, I haven’t decided. A story about how guitarist Satchel met Starr at an LA party in the early 80s involved a foursome with two beautiful models, and a Saint Bernard. A tirade about Toronto ended in the consensus that T.dot is only a good city if you’re looking to score crack. A joke about it being bassist Lexxi Foxx’s 69th birthday led to the most out of tune acoustic rendition of “Happy Birthday” you’ve ever heard. In between these little goofball sessions they found moments to show off their impressive musical abilities, not the least of which being Satchel’s solo where the guitarist somehow found time to jam with himself on the drums.
Anyone who may have been offended probably left before closing tune “Party All Day (Fuck All Night).” Anyone else undoubtedly walked into work the following Wednesday morning with the biggest of smiles still plastered across their face. Steel Panther are currently touring in support of their new record Lower the Bar, which incidentally was released this same night. Go ahead and grab a copy if you think you’ve got the stomach for it.
Written by Syd Ghan
Photography by Stacy Basque
*edited by Danielle Kenedy