Steel Panther rocks the Ballroom

Jacon Zinn

Rhythm guitarist and backup vocalist Russ Parrish hams it up for his potential Vancouver groupies. JACOB ZINN/THE RUNNER

There was more red lipstick, teased hair, pierced nipples and leopard print than necessary at Steel Panther’s Thursday-night show – and that was on just the men in the audience.

The Los Angeles hair bangers came up to Vancouver for the first show of the band’s sold-out two-night stand at the Commodore Ballroom, and they brought the essence of ‘80s glam metal with them.

After the Iron Maiden-inspired “In the Future” intro, the band burst onstage with “Supersonic Sex Machine” and “Tomorrow Night” off their new album, Balls Out.

With gusto in his voice and a bulge in his pants, lead singer Michael Starr kicked off two sexist-but-laughable songs: “Asian Hooker” and “Gold-Digging Whore”

“There’s something that’s missing in heavy metal today,” said Starr. “It’s called heavy metal today.”

The 990 fans in attendance responded with the horns (and some with the shocker).

“Also, bitchin’ chicks in music videos,” added bassist Lexxi Foxxx somewhere between adjusting his hair in a hand mirror and reapplying pink lipstick.

“Bitchin’ chicks and ripping guitar solos,” added Starr.

The crowd sang along with “Community Property” and security scrambled to keep up with the crowd-surfers during “Turn Out the Lights”, both from 2009’s Feel the Steel.

Throughout the night, the boys in Panther saw more topless women (and a few dudes who looked like ladies) than any hair metal group today. Oversexed girls sat on their boyfriends’ shoulders with their tops pulled up, reaching for Starr’s spandexed crotch.

Midway through the show, guitarist Satchel took centre stage for a six-minute solo on his red Kramer Pacer, which included licks from “Flight of the Bumblebee”, Van Halen’s finger-tapping “Eruption” and Dick Dale’s surf rockin’ “Misirlou”.

“How many people think we should lock the doors and play until five o’clock in the fucking morning?!” asked Satchel to an enthusiastic crowd.

Continuing their humorous chauvinism, Steel Panther performed the air guitar-friendly “It Won’t Suck Itself” and “Fat Girl (Thar She Blows)”.

While they aren’t exactly role models – “We all dropped out of high school, we know what’s good for you,” said Satchel – they know how to have nothing but a good time.

They toned down the atmosphere for the ballad “Weenie Ride”, with drummer Stix Zadinia leaving his riser for a keyboard up front.

Some couples embraced to the inappropriate slow jam, but that quickly changed once the band started the contrasting “Just Like Tiger Woods”.

On the metal upswing, the band kicked it ‘80s style with “Eyes of a Panther” – one of their few tracks that isn’t explicitly comical. Starr jumped down from the stage and shrieked the lyrics with sweaty, die-hard fans at the barricade.

They carried the energy through the rest of the set, performing the Bon Jovi-esque “Party All Day (Fuck All Night)” to a floor of raised fists and banged heads, followed by the debaucherous “17 Girls in a Row”.

Instead of leaving the stage and returning for an encore, they cut through the BS and ended the show with the balls-to-the-wall, moshpit-inducing “Death to All But Metal”.

Not one metal head left the Commodore without ringing ears (and possibly herpes) from Steel Panther’s powerful 90-minute performance, and if past tour schedules are indicative of the future, they’ll sell out another Vancouver concert before the year’s end.


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