Singer Michael Starr and guitarist Satchel of Steel Panther.
If you dropped an unsuspecting music fan into Steel Panther
's show at the Knitting Factory Thursday, it's hard to imagine what they'd think of the proceedings if they weren't in on the joke.
Taken at face value, the Los Angeles-based hair-metal jokesters come across as probably the most over-the-top, anti-PC glam-happy rock band in recent memory. They turn '80s rock excess and turn it up to 11, resulting in a show full of silly and familiar stage moves, genuinely rocking riffs and between-song banter that is hilarious at times, and completely asinine at others.
That, of course, is
the big joke. Steel Panther appeals to fans of '80s glam-metal because the band amplifies how goofy that era was. Whether it's bass player "Lexxi Foxx" literally pulling out a hand mirror and applying makeup and hairspray on stage, or guitarist "Satchel" constantly talking about ever-more-outlandish sexual escapades, it's easy to watch Steel Panther and recall the likes of Poison or Dokken or Ratt at their excessive best/worst.
best, the Steel Panther shtick can come off as utterly charming and self-aware, such as repeated jokes about increasing the smoke on stage or the makeup to hide the advancing ages of the band members. Not as funny — a young female fan who accepted the opportunity to jump on stage and show the audience nearly filling the Knitting Factory her bared breasts. All I could think of as it happened was: "Why?"
The crowd ate it up, though, as just another throwback "rock 'n' roll" concert trope, and they cheered and threw up their "devil horns" throughout the show. Singer Michael Starr was full of David Lee Roth-style frontman moves, and the back-and-forth between him, Satchel and Foxx was as much a part of the show as performances of their original songs like "Party Like Tomorrow is the End of the World," "Asian Hooker," "Let Me Cum In" and "Fat Girl (Thar She Blows)."
It wouldn't work if the band couldn't actually play as well as they do, or perform with as much energy as they bring to the stage. While virtually everything about Steel Panther is a joke, their dedication to the gig and their fans' adoration were obviously real.
Here are a few photos from the show:
The majesty of rock.
Lexxi Foxx (left) and Michael Starr.
The "devil horns" flew early and often at Steel Panther's show Thursday.
Glam-obsessed bassist Lexxi Foxx and Michael Starr share a moment.