Live Reviews : Steel Panther & The Art @ Luna Park, Sydney 05/10/2012
As I walked through the iconic smiling mouth upon the entry to Luna Park, I immediately thought it was the perfect introduction to the night that I was about to have. For tonight, the Big Top, a venue found inside the walls of Luna Park, Sydney, was playing host to a headlining performance by the notoriously popular heavy metal band, Steel Panther. A band known for their exaggerated on-stage personas, over the top crude and humorous lyrics, and music that both praises and parodies that of the 80’s glam and hair metal, Steel Panther has become an almost household name due to their mass appeal as both a hard rocking band with extremely catchy songs and as a comedy act rivalling most stand-up comedians.
The increasing popularity of Steel Panther was made apparent when the tour was first announced as tonight’s show had sold out in the early days of ticket sales, and another show had been added for the following night which I hear was close to selling out also. Not bad for a band who has only released two studio albums and had only been to Australia once before. Earlier this year, Steel Panther played around Australia as part of the Soundwave Festival, and did a few sideshows in select cities supporting Alter Bridge, so this tour was their first headlining appearances in Australia. By the look of things, they couldn’t have waited any longer. When first arriving at the venue, it felt like I was at a KISS concert or something like that as there were that many people dressed up as their favourite member of Steel Panther. I’ve been to quite a few shows at the Big Top before, but never have I seen it this packed out before with people absolutely everywhere, and with the excitement you could actually feel in the air, everyone was definitely all amped up for the big performance.
A local band called The Art scored the opening slot for tonight’s show. I was unable to witness their performance due to a delay at the entrance, so I only got inside just as they were leaving the stage. From all accounts, their set didn’t go too well as they were heckled quite a bit by the audience. Personally I think a glam rock style band would have suited the bill a bit better, but then again, when everyone is there to see a band like Steel Panther the warm up act really needs to emulate their big entertainment factor or suffer the consequences, as a result The Art did cop a bit of harassment from the already highly intoxicated and impatient crowd.
After time for a quick couple of beers, it was time for Steel Panther to hit the stage. With the intro track ‘In the Future’ from their latest album “Balls Out” playing over the PA, Steel Panther burst onto the stage and ripped straight into the track ‘Supersonic Sex Machine’. A perfect start to a night that was about to be filled with insane guitar solos, massive sing-a-longs, and enough debauchery and sexual innuendos to last a lifetime! Before kicking into one of their more popular tunes, ‘Fat Girl (Thar She Blows)’, the band took time to introduce themselves to the crowd and start with the mass amount of jokes in which they delivered throughout the entire evening. Everything from vaginas, to penis sizes, to the questionable sexual preferences of members, nothing was taboo and everything a potential joke, much to the audience’s delight. There were times were the crowd’s laughter was actually louder than the applause.
Up next, a personal favourite of mine, was ‘Asian Hooker’ from the debut album ‘Death to All But Metal’. There were parts in the chorus were I couldn’t actually hear the vocals of the band as the crowd was singing along so loud, which I think even took the band a back a little as I can only imagine how loud it would have sounded to them to have a couple of thousand fans screaming each amazingly profound word back at them. And talking about the sound, it was superb! As mentioned earlier, I’ve been to quite a few shows at the Big Top before and every show I’ve seen there has always had questionable sound. Tonight was definitely an exception as the sound quality was absolutely amazing, with every tom hit, guitar lick, bass slap and vocal note being audible in the mix. Kudos to their sound engineers on this! Also, the lighting show was insane! One of the best I’ve seen in a long time, and of the quality of bands who are headlining arenas. I think there were times I was focusing more on the light show rather than the band. So lighting and sound, a massive A+ from me!
One of the highlights of the night would definitely be the guitar solo by the band’s guitarist Satchel. After playing one mind-bending solo for a few minutes, Satchel went up behind the drum kit, and played the bass drum to create the rhythm while he continued sections of songs on the guitar by bands like Metallica, Black Sabbath, Guns N Roses, Judas Priest, among others. Truly an awesome experience and great to see something a bit different than the usual guitar solos most bands provide to break up the set.
Whether you like their music or not, Steel Panther are an absolutely outstanding live band. They put on a show that’s a mix between high-energy, well-delivered heavy metal songs, and stand up comedy, which has the audience in stitches. While they might seem like a gimmick to some, they have definitely chosen a target market in which they exceedingly excel in and will continue to do so for quite some time. Do yourselves a favour, the next time Steel Panther is in town, see them as I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Intro Tape: In the Future
Supersonic Sex Machine
Fat Girl (Thar She Blows)
Just Like Tiger Woods
If You Really, Really Love Me
Turn Out the Lights
I Like Drugs
That’s What Girls Are For
Party All Day (Fuck All Night)
Death to All but Metal
Eyes of a Panther
17 Girls in a Row