Steel Panther – Casino Ballroom, Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, July 31, 2016

I remember back in the 80s when I was a “Metal Kid” – I Ate, Slept, Breathed Heavy Metal – and to me everything else sucked. If you made fun of Metal, I was gonna fight you. Ha ha. My brother, a year younger and with a bit larger spectrum in music genres, told me about a movie he had seen. He said that I HAD to see it. The movie was Spinal Tap, and when he told me they were making fun of a Metal band, I was ready to fight them, and even though I first refused I eventually saw it and fell in love with it’s comedic genius.

Steel Panther takes a page out of Spinal Tap’s book, and is just plain fun. Sure, the jokes and shtick get a little old after awhile, and I wish they would maybe write some new material, but that aside, the Steel Panther show is a whole lot of fun and great fun to photograph.

People can say what they will, and they do, about this band. I’ve heard it all from “Those guys suck!” to “I hate that band” and “Maybe if they stopped the shtick, I’d like them,”etc. What people don’t understand is the fact that these guys sell out venues night after night, doing what they do. Sure, they could stop wearing wigs and stop the stage banter, but then they would be like every other metal band out there. They would not have that milkshake that brings all the boys to the yard. (and girls too.) The shtick is what puts food on their tables and pays their bills. They all have true talent. Hell, guitarist Russ Parish (Satchel) played in the Godfather of Heavy Metal Rob Halford’s band Fight. Yet people still want to put them down as no talent hacks. I read the comments like I mentioned above and I think of that nearsighted metal kid that I was, ready to fight anyone who made fun of my music, and I think, one day these guys will see it for what it is.

Like countless shows before this one, the venue was sold out, full of hot girls, and guys dressed as hot girls – to be honest, the guys couldn’t hold a candle to the ladies but it is all in fun. The Casino Ballroom filled up fast and within a half hour to show time, the crowd was packed like sardines against the metal barricade. Unlike most metal shows today, folks had a good mix of sex, age, and race, and all were smiling and ready to have a great time with Steel Panther.

Opening the show were Portsmouth, New Hampshire locals, Red Sky Mary. The band did very well and got a great response from the audience. Their music was tight and had a nice bluesy tone to it, a bit reminiscent of bands like Black Country Communion. Vocalist, Sam Vlasich, has a great tenor voice, and it cuts through nicely. I can see this guy going on to do some impressive things. Guitarist, Tom Boisse, is another guy to watch in this band, and he plays some tasty licks. Overall I was impressed by these local boys.

The start of Steel Panther’s set was much like a real Spinal Tap movie. There were problems with Satchel’s wireless unit, be it on standby or batteries dead, either way, the tech was on it. A song later, he was back on stage to switch out Michael’s mic, and then a third time to adjust Stick’s cymbal stand. Not that every band doesn’t have these issues, but I guess when it’s a band basically doing comedy, you can’t help but take these issues as part of the show.

The band opened with Eyes of a Panther, which seems to be a favorite opener for the band. Vocalist, Michael Star, scanning the audience for willing victims to play with. Bassist, Lexxi Foxx, sans his portable lit vanity, checking his look in his hand mirror and applying another coat of hair spray to his wig. (BTW Lexxi, if you are reading this it looks like it’s time to replace that wig man, it has seen better days.) Satchel motioning to the young ladies in the audience, pointing first to them, then motioning backstage, then acting out oral sex with his hand to his mouth. When the girl changed her head shake from a yes to a no, he’d move on to the next girl. All this while drummer, Stix, performed fellatio on his drum stick. Banter between band members, simulated fights, Mom jokes, and bringing members of the audience up on stage to dance, sing and flash their tatas to a sea of cell phone cameras. (Their mother must be so proud.) But it is all that goes into a Steel Panther show, I saw them once last year where a sex act actually took place on the stage. Begs the question of how much entertainment can you get from a single show, right? Well, with normal bands the answer would be, 10, but these guys go to 11!

The setlist:
Eyes of a Panther – Tomorrow Night – Fat Girl (Thar She Blows) – Party Like Tomorrow is the End of the World – Let Me Cum In – Asian Hooker – Turn Out the Lights – Ten Strikes You’re Out – Girl From Oklahoma – 17 Girls in a Row – Gloryhole – Community Property – Party All Day (Fuck All Night)
Encore:
Death to All but Metal

About the author

James Pappaconstantine

James has been shooting concerts since 1977, He started out with his Kodak Instamatic, before moving up to a real camera (a Pentex K1000) in 1981, he has since moved through the ranks of Minolta, Sony and Cannon before landing on his Nikon D800. When not shooting a show Jim can be found singing with his own band Reverse Cowgirl or spending time with his two wonderful kids.