Concert Reviews

Steel Panther / Inglorious / Wayward Sons Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 01, 2018    
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Steel Panther / Inglorious / Wayward Sons - O2 Apollo, Manchester (UK) - 24 January 2018

Iain Faith tells Mati Di Bergi that their appeal is becoming more selective. He was talking about Spinal Tap, of course, but...

In 2016, Steel Panther played the enormodome MEN Arena. This year they played the 02 Apollo. It's half the size, but they sold it out though, and those who attended were hardcore fans who would give their right nut or flash their boobs repeatedly (a lot did) to engage with this comedy/non-comedy/oh God, I don't know band.

It was an interesting line-up too, bands slightly different enough to not impinge but to thrill. Up first were Wayward Sons, who released a great new album recently, and they grab this opportunity by the throat, Toby Jepson holding his Flying V low and stomping around, and Sam Wood peeling off impressive, warm solos and trying to look very like Scott Gorham. They hammer us to the wall by opening with 'Alive' and settle into some sass with 'Killing Time', but for all their running about and stamping feet, sometimes they just seem too damned loud. This makes the enjoyment of rather good songs more of a challenge. Still, they open with energy and a bash which is what we need on a three band bill. Oh... first teased blonde barnet spotted at 8.10...

We next move to a band who probably have no issues at all with making an impression, I've seen Inglorious many times and Nathan Jones and the boys have never disappointed. They enter with the same 'Grandstand' music and give the same performance – brilliant. Without keyboards though, they are a different prospect, tougher and meaner, not that Nathan seems to notice, prancing around with Freddie Mercury tones and an increasingly Meat Loaf look (just saying what I see!), his stage gesturing coquettish and a great deal of fun. There's a lot of echo at first for James, but that gargantuan voice soon settles; in fact, it might be the best I've heard him. By the end, he is playing it like Glenn Hughes; Falsetto working, range all there with power to stun an elephant at thirty paces... They batter their songs tonight, 'Taking The Blame' and 'Read All About It' particular highlights, and if they've lost some swagger because of the harder feel, Andreas Eriksson and Drew Lowe deliver soaring solos and raucous riffs with wonderful warmth, while Colin Parkinson just plants those legs wide and bosses that bass. Did they have thirty minutes? Forty-five maybe? Whatever, it is too short. Inglorious are too good for support, we need to see the full show. They are ready for headline tours, tonight just showed us why.

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Steel Panther don't deliver a gig, they deliver an event. We have a pretty small amount of songs, but a lot of entertainment. They are a variety act really, not a Metal rip-off, a band who have their tried and tested sketches and shtick, then play that to the hilt. It's a scant stage set, I was expecting more, but the sold-out crowd sing-along from the start. All the songs you want are here, 'Poontang Boomerang', 'Weenie Ride' and a long, fun version of their iconic 'Asian Hooker'; I, for one, simply can't agree with the sentiment, particularly when the band doesn't know if it's taking the fun out of Hair Metal or not, but it works tonight and they play 'Wasted Too Much Time' really well. Satchel is quicker than any of them with the banter and the self-deprecating touches are very welcome and a great laugh, as is his Nigel Tufnel-like solo which almost topples into virtuosity, but then saves itself as he accompanies the bass drum. It's a fine line, isn't it?

May I add a word about the treatment of women? As the show progresses, there are any number of women who want to flash their boobs, they are encouraged from the stage and do it again... and again... but sometimes, some women like as if they are coerced and peer pressured into doing it and that seemed a little creepy. Lisa flashed more than others to get on to the stage and then the band sing to her in a way which seems to embarrass her, but that is, of course, the idea. By the end of the show, they have girls galore onstage to dance to '17 Girls In A Row', of course, managing to do nothing with them but allow them to have a good time; young Cameron Cooper, who gets Satchel's guitar, solos mercilessly. It's a great moment.

It's over fairly early, but you wouldn't want more. Michael Starr is a perma-grinning front-man with a very serviceable voice, Lexxi Foxx probably plays more of a character than anyone, androgynously primping and preening behind the bass, drummer Stix Zadinia is as unreconstructed as drummers are reported to be and Satchel is the driving force of the band. It helps if you take them as a variety act, in questionable taste but mockingly funny; this is if you want to think of it this way. If the whole package is enjoyable and funny with no other issues to consider, that's understood too. Do the crowd see this ironically? Some do, some see it as a great Metal night out.

It's both, it really is, but by dipping into that time, even ironically, certain things happen which need to be questioned now. Steel Panther are a great band who can play this music with one hand tied and they are also very funny. Does that give them and the crowd a free pass? No. Do I sound like a right on curmudgeon? Don't care if I do.

Steve Swift

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