Steel Panther review – priapic hair metal parody has legs to keep going

Wembley Arena, London
Sleazy and puerile as their songs are, Steel Panther have the attention to detail and musical chops to go all night

Steel Panther are a rare case of satirists who have achieved the same stature as the subjects that they ape. The spoof heavy metal band began life as a turn-of-the-millennium in-joke on Los Angeles’s Sunset Strip, before their ferociously accurate parodies – plus support slots with the likes of Guns N’ Roses, Mötley Crüe and Judas Priest – lifted them to the point where they can now headline Wembley. Their attention to detail is prodigious, meaning that the stage is a riot of leather trousers, bullet belts, spandex, scarves, bandanas and industrial-strength wind machines. David Lee Roth-like singer Michael Starr sprints up and down a catwalk, yowling dumbass songs about partying and nailing groupies; pouting bassist Lexxi Foxx spends much of the night applying lipstick and preening his waist-length locks in a full-length mirror.

The musicianship is as sleek and streamlined as it needs to be for this take on 1980s hair metal at its most preposterous and priapic to work, and while period-piece misogyny and sexism ooze from every sleazy second of Fat Girl (Thar She Blows) and Asian Hooker, being outraged by Steel Panther would be akin to taking moral umbrage at Viz’s Sid the Sexist. The women thronging on stage to flash their breasts during Death to All but Metal are highly enthusiastic participants, and as Spinal Tap’s Nigel Tufnel once famously inquired, “What’s wrong with being sexy?”

It’s all preternaturally puerile, right up the point where Starr slaps his heart on his sleeve for the Aerosmith-like encore power ballad Community Property, crooning the words every woman wants to hear: “You’re the only girl that I like to screw, when I’m not on the road.” Steel Panther may only have one joke, but they keep it up all night.


Ian Gittins

The GuardianTramp

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