Steel Panther @ Astor Theatre
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
It was in a confused state of shock and amazement that my attention was drawn to the sight of a bare breasted lady, riding the shoulders of her (potential) boyfriend, giving the crowd the finger as she simultaneously showered herself and us in her RTD on Tuesday night.
I was in a sea of bogan men, all singing jubilantly to lyrics like “Eminem can suck it, so can Dr Dre/ They can suck each other just because they’re gay!”, some of them wearing wigs and what appeared to be their girlfriends fishnet stockings, craftily slashed and stretched across their chests, nipples and chest hair similarly bursting from the slits.
On stage a group of leopard-print-lycra-clad middle aged men – bandana’d, bleached and (possibly) botoxed – thrashed and kicked in unison. Guitars and drums throbbing liked an engorged cock. I was at the Steel Panther gig at the Astor Theatre and I was in heaven.
It was the final show in the Australian leg of their A Night On The Sunset Strip tour and they were taking us out in complete 80s heavy metal fashion. Starting the show off with a collection of classic Panther tunes – Goin’ in the Back Door, Asian Hooker and Just Like Tiger Woods – dripping with overt, yet tongue in cheek, sexual connotation. Songs like 17 Girls In a Row presented the perfect opportunity for lead singer Michael Starr to call upon female audience members to join the band on stage. Here they were invited to partake in the time honoured tradition of exposing their breasts for the enjoyment of the crowd, though it seems one participant deemed Starr and drummer, Stix Zadinia, the only beneficiaries worthy of her gifts.
The boys slipped effortlessly from their songs to a selection of classic covers that had the crowd belting out lyrics in heavy metal, singalong style starting with Motley Crue’s Kickstart My Heart and continuing with songs by hard hitters like Guns N’ Roses, Bon Jovi, Scorpions and of course, Van Halen. A highlight of which was Starr’s incredible impersonation of an aged Ozzy Osbourne performing Crazy Train complete with the shakes, shuffling feet and calls to “Sharon!”. An apparent lull in genitalia themed banter seemed to signal a point in the show where the band took a more serious approach, and it was in these moments that the musicianship was truly evident.
To a hair metal fan who was born too late to participate, this show was as authentic an experience I could hope for. Steel Panther brings with them all the excess of the 80s, gleefully dragging the audience kicking and screaming back into a world of cock-rock, tits, dicks and hits.
Photos by Linda Dunjey