Review By Hayley Clark Photo Credit – Indie Images
We all know there is no dispute, ‘Birmingham’ is the home of Rock, so throw in some heavyweights of the scene on a Thursday evening and you know the crowds are going to come quicker than a newbie visiting the city’s notorious Slade Road, especially when Sunset Strip’s finest come to town for an evening of dirty glam rock sounds and smutty jokes, Steel Panther have prowled into town. Joined by New York rock studs Winger, the gravelly tones of lead Kip Winger, looking refined in black shirt and waistcoat as they bring 80`s nostalgia in a set which you would expect to see John Cusack appear with a boom box over his head, immediately grabbing the eye of female admirers in the front row as they swooned over him.
“Thank you Birmingham for allowing us to party with you, weve put out a new record the other week and I’ve saw a few of you at our previous gigs too, we thank you for your support”. Kip beamed as he burst into ‘Proud Desperado.’ With all original members on stage, the guitar licks were tight and beats in synch as the crowd were introduced to the band, the phenomenal musicianship oozing emotion as mobile torch lights filled 02 Academy for a band who would easily been worthy of a headline spot.
It’s not only the crowd enjoying it as Steel Panther`s Michael Starr is on the mixer watching from the side-lines clapping along, as a spine tingling solo rose on stage in ‘Headed For A Heartbreak‘ he couldn’t contain his excitement anymore joining Winger on stage and grabbing a mic to join in. Whilst everyone is warmed up and raring to go, I will let you into a little secret. Throwback 7 years and I was asked if I wanted to cover a tongue in cheek band for a blog I was working with as someone was sick and couldn’t make it. I agreed and from that moment I was hooked, the energy, the innuendo and breaking the barriers of everyday music no matter what anyone will say Steel Panther is one of those guilty pleasures you have to see live if they come to town. Also, when Rockwell transferred over to the UK team, this band was the first band featured on the page as we managed to catch them just before the world locked-down from Covid so they’ve always got a soft spot in our hearts.
Tonight, didn’t disappoint, roaring onto the stage with ‘Eye of the Panther‘ the crowd erupted immediately in cheers, with Michael on vocals, Stixx on drums, Satchel on lead guitar and new member, bassist, Spyder the energy cranking up ten fold as the ‘On The Prowl‘ tour came to Birmingham (UK). With the fourpiece dressed in tight lyric and a nothing to the imagination codpiece from Michael, this is nothing you wouldn’t expect from these glam rock gods, making sure the crowd knew they were in for a party and within seconds spellbinding the audience to flash their boobs at the band.
Ten pairs later and Satchel tries to bring the band back into order, “its Spyder’s first time here he’s not used to seeing so many pairs, he’s new to the band if you haven’t noticed and he has some very big gay boots to fill” in reference to former Bassist Lexxi Foxx.
With some tongue in cheek audience interaction the party was about to kick up a notch bringing on an Asian fan in a check mini skirt for the infectious ‘Asian hooker‘ writhing around Michael’s crotch as he worked the crowd into a frenzy. With Satchell`s wizardry on the guitar leaving you spellbound, it compensated to anyone who may be offended by tonight’s antics, flawlessly bringing the rock to the show, and proving this band should be credited more for their high musical ability.
Crowd favourites ‘All I wanna do‘ and ‘Death To All But Metal‘ leave the audience wanting more with their cheeky lyrics, bouncing around the ‘Sold Out’ venue, one of latter offerings ‘1987’ provides a nostalgic look back with a Whitesnake type feel and tributing Birmingham’s own father of rock in the lyrics “Ozzy’ was on the crazy train biting heads off bats” as the audience swayed from side to side mesmerised. The banter between Michael and Satchel is as always electric, Satchel telling the crowd Birmingham is his favourite town as his nan lives down the road, and cooks them crystal meth for everyone at Christmas. At a guess maybe his nan is from Chelmsley Wood, but considering the band hail from Los Angeles, I could think of 101 places she would rather live. With Michael offering the crowd coke with T-shirts and the best thing about being in the band is being almost 70 years old with twenty 8 balls on tour and strippers, they were soon giggling away as the night was about to turn up the heat an extra notch.
Pulling a young fan called Immy onto the stage for ‘Girl From Oklahoma‘ and the four-piece serenading her to see which version the crowd likes best, short but sweet Stixx shows not only has he the beats when it comes to drums, but when he spits out bars leaving her in giggles and coyly smiling at frontman Starr. Spyder has filled Lexxi‘s boots well, plucking his bass to a deep dirty groove and hopping in with witty comebacks, giving as good as he gets whilst the elders try and playfully pick on him it’s like hes always been with them.
With the new album ‘On The Prowl‘ out it would be wrong to not feature tracks from it tonight ‘Ain`t Dead Yet‘ and ‘Friends With Benefits‘ replacing some old favourite`s missing from tonight set, but that didn’t prevent any wildness and leaving the debauchery till last, in the 4 times prior to this ‘17 Girls‘ in a row, has always been an eye opener, myself never being brave enough to bring my 38K puppies to the stage it’s always admirable how Steel Panther bring on so many girls of all shapes and sizes and how they rep body positivity. Even with ‘17 Girls‘ missing, tonight was the turn of ‘Party All Day‘ to be handed the batton, with 50/60 girls hopping up with their idols, bringing the party and oozing in confidence, with the rest of the crowd singing along, the stage lit up as one huge party erupted before slowing things down for a roof raising singalong of ‘Community Property.’
With this electrifying set coming to an end, it was time for an encore, Michael‘s silky sounds ever as diverse with crowd favourite ‘Glory Hole‘, prowling and strutting across the stage wowing the audience, leaving them after more. As the band left the 02 Birmingham crowd on a high, its not clear if they made their way to a local establishment to see what Birmingham’s adult scene is all about, but if they couldn’t find the glory holes this time, I’m sure if they return soon I can put them in touch with a man who can, our very own KA.