Its Wednesday or hump day, as it’s sometimes known. And if you are a fan of US-based sleaze rockers Steel Panther I will let you insert your own joke here.
Walking through Newcastle city centre this evening, there is a real sense of anticipation in the air. En route to the O2 Academy, late-night shoppers cross paths with revellers bedecked in spandex, denim, leather, bandanas and even the occasional wig.
Now to the uninitiated locals, for a moment, they may think that the gathering crowds were attending a fancy dress party. If you own or are wearing such items then you know that this is all part of the Steel Panther experience. A night where anything goes, and you can truly be yourself or let your freak flag fly without fear of judgement.
A Steel Panther show is fuelled by their distinctive brand of explicit and somewhat witty metal, self-deprecating humour and naughty on-stage antics. There is even room for a ‘Hair Solo’ courtesy of bass player Lexi Foxx, who thrashes his magnificent mane whilst spurred on by his bandmates.
Steel Panther’s latest album Heavy Metal Rules is a sentiment that all in attendance can wholeheartedly agree with. And as such the band showcase a raft of tracks from their latest offering. This includes the likes of ‘All I Wanna Do Is Fuck (Myself Tonight)’, ‘Fuck Everybody’ and ‘I Ain’t Buying What Your Selling’. The latter of which surprisingly features drummer Stix Zadinia on keyboards.
If you are easily offended or faint of heart then this is not the place for you. And for those close enough to the action in the front rows there is plenty of opportunities to get involved in one shape or another. Crowd participation is key tonight.
One lucky fan, in particular, is both simultaneously wooed and serenaded by each member of the band in turn. Frontman Michael Starr performs the song ‘Weenie Ride’ to the lady in question, as her fiancé watches on. When Steel Panther are in town, hold on tight to your significant other or they could well become the subject of their next hit song.
An influx female fans are invited to the stage to dance like nobody is watching during a song that could well be the band’s mantra – ‘Party All Night’ and the rather frisky ‘Seventeen Girls In A Row’.
A virtuoso guitar solo by Satchel proves that underneath his mischievous persona, these guys can seriously play with the best of them.
And for the old school Panther fans in attendance, there is plenty of room for crowd-pleasing favourites such as the harmonious ‘Asian Hooker’, the band’s unique take on a love song by way of ‘Community Property’ and the anthemic ‘Death To All But Metal’. The latter of which also closes out the main set. That is before the show comes to its climax – if you will excuse the pun, with ‘Glory Hole’.
At a Steel Panther show, it’s no holds barred, unadulterated and most importantly incredibly fun. In this day and age where all we hear on the news or online is terrible stories from across the globe, the LA-based quartet helps you to forget your troubles. At a Steel Panther show, there is always a ‘happy ending’.
Brit rockers Wayward Sons opened the show early in the evening. The band’s setlist was all killer and no filler as they trounced their way through a set that encompassed the very best of their first two albums Ghosts of Yet To Come and The Truth Ain’t What It Used To Be respectively.
The likes of ‘Don’t Wanna Go’, ‘Ghost’, and ‘Crush’ all featured. There was little room for ‘Small Talk’ or stage banter as the band capitalised on the opening set time allotted to them. Tonight Wayward Sons transported the audience to classic rock heaven.
Alas, our short time together was over before we know it. And just as the crowd thought they were done, it was a matter of the ‘Jokes On You’. The band’s fans should know by now that it’s never over ‘Until The End’.
Tonight Toby Jepson and company delivered a commanding performance – it felt like they should be headlining this room in their own right. According to Jepson, the band will be back out on their own tour in the Autumn, which is certainly something to look forward to on our 2020 gig calendar.