With the streets below full of Olympic mayhem, the stage at the Commodore Ballroom was alive and well. Steel Panther, the parody heavy metal band from Los Angeles, brought the house to its knees. Opening the show was Vancouver’s own Mongoose, playing their set with ferocity and aggression. The crowd was excited, the bands were primed and the night was over the top. It was a true ode to 80s debauchery.
Upon entering the venue it was clear this night was going to be unlike any other. A good portion of the audience streaming through the double doors were fully dressed in their hair metal tribute attire. Spandex, feathered hair pieces, and vibrant colored eye makeup were sported by many a gent. With the Olympic fever spread through our fine city, the ballroom was overflowing with anticipation from the get go.
Mongoose took the stage and went into over drive immediately. Their style is aggressive, fast and raw. With a post-punk edge their vocals and instrumentals are simple and stock full of emotion. It immediately connected with audience and they were flung into a high pace rhythm. Fists heald high, pounding steadily with the beat. Locks of silhouetted hair flip like whips through the night, back lit but the stage lights. Mongoose was intense and passionate, and gave the home crowd a pure musical show. The only thing lacking was proper mixing of the set, which left the singer muddy and washed away at times.
Waiting between bands, the mass of people grew eager. Lineups for the bar were only over powered by lineups for the bathrooms. Suddenly the lights extinguished, blackness swallowed the heard. The four glam rockers rose to the stage. Michael Starr and his feather haired posse had the fans in the palm of their hands. An explosion of excitement spewed from the floor. Eager outstretched hands sprouted forth, trying to grasp at the band before them.
The feeling was surreal, besides the parody style of the band, it was actually like seeing a 80s glam rock band in the flesh. Satchel on guitar, Lexxi Foxxx on bass and Stix Zadinia on drums, even their names hold true to their style. Their light show is full of dozen of quick moving spot lights, making everything they do even more over the top.
The comedic side to this band is what really brings the crowd out. They do not at all take themselves seriously, everything is a joke. Their songs are about over indulgence, and the over the top rock star life. Throughout the night, women would storm to the stage and present their breasts as backstage passes. One was so keen she removed her entire dress and danced in thong and bra to entire song on stage.
Satchel went into a 10 minute guitar solo, which was an ode to the 80s. Starting off with some purely tasty electric licks, running around the fretboard like a mad man. He then led into some virtuoso themed pieces; Flight of the Bumblebee and a rendition of A Doe A Deer. Finishing off the extravaganza he ended with a compilation of flagship glam rock portions. Sweet Child O Mine, Rock Me Like a Hurricane and many Zeppelin’esque riffs. Although they are a parody band none of them lack skill; proven here by their axe man.
Harmonizing with a crowd at a show can be a thing of beauty. I guarantee you haven’t heard anything until you have heard 900 people harmonizing “Come on pretty lady suck on my balls all night”. It was one of the greatest things I have seen at the Commodore Ballroom. Steel Panther is the best bang for your buck you will ever get. There is no doubt in my mind they could play a stadium and have the same effect. The fact that glam is so big that even a parody is acceptable to the main stream, says something about its allure.
In summation of the night, I was blown away. They were musical immaculate, visually stunning and utterly hilarious. Their show brought a refreshing spin on something we all laughed at in retrospect anyways. The feeling that struck me though, wasn’t one of being able to relish in a memory of some glam metal past that was once top in the world. It was one that this could be a sign of the rebirth. This band and its popularity could be the stepping stone to a glam metal come back. All in all Steel Panther is the epitome of a good performance, if you haven’t seen this band live, get off your ass and go, now!