Steel Panther @ Academy 2, Birmingham – 13th September 2009


I had an inkling that Steel Panther would be fun, no holds barred hair metal. I turned out to be bang right on that. What I didn’t know previously was just how far their derivative concept stretched.


A fan told me after the gig that the band have had a residency at the famous Key Club in LA for quite a few years now, have had everyone from Pink to Joey Jordison up playing with them and are somewhat of a legend on the Los Angeles scene. This makes perfect sense. Steel Panther are all glammy pastiche with a mission to bring back debauched heavy metal in a big way. They have some amusingly childish between song banter, which starts out kind of funny but gets tiresome when it drags out for minutes on end. When not messing around, their songs are by turns overblown ballads like ‘Fat Girl’ and debauched rockers like ‘Death To All But Metal’.


I strained to see the band in the packed out Academy 2 room, which is characteristically cramped and sweaty and found myself feeling really glad that the Academy has finally moved to more spacious and better laid out premises. Between huge mullet wigs and waving horn signs, I caught a glimpse of the band; a balding Sammy Hagar lookalike on lead vocals (possessed of a mighty set of lungs I must say), He-man on bass with cheekbones so sharp they could cut diamond, dumpy drummer and one of the most technically gifted rock guitarists I’ve ever heard.


As a homage to their idols; Motley Crue, LA Guns, Twisted Sister and what have you, they’re great. And they are fun; they are all good performers and musicians and entertained a bunch of people in a cramped, sweaty room for an hour and a half. And that audience wasn’t just a load of sad old men or socially maladjusted, spotty teenage boys. There was a decent sized female contingent in the crowd, no doubt attracted by bassist Lexxi Foxxe’s Hollywood good looks. But I can’t help but think that eleven quid is a bit much to pay to see what is basically a competent tribute band. Over half of their songs are simply reworked and disguised versions of classic rock songs like ‘Living on a Prayer’, ‘Eruption’ and ‘Here I Go Again’. They are not as funny as Tenacious D, whose crude, ‘random’ humour Steel Panther share, or as witty as Spinal Tap. They’re a band aimed squarely at the Guitar Hero generation.


Some might say I’ve missed the point in a big way here, but with such a well worn concept as Steel Panther I think a band has to work a bit harder to really entertain.

Review – Adam Moffatt
Photos – Steve Gerrard

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7 thoughts on “Steel Panther @ Academy 2, Birmingham – 13th September 2009

  1. Good review, and even better pictures!
    I think that you have hit the nail on the head really though – this band is only a tribute band, and have been on the LA scene for years, albeit with a succession of different band names, such as Danger Kitty, Metal Shop and Metal Skool.
    They are a good band live, but then they most bands would be who have a backing tape which layers the vocals and guitar playing. I also agree with your comments about the between song banter – more music please, and less rehearsed banter, with comments that make Bill and Ted sound intelligent.
    Saying that though, Steel Panther are a band good enough for a silly drunken night out, but should be appreciated for what they are – a band who are paying tribute to 80’s hair metal.

  2. ‘I also agree with your comments about the between song banter – more music please’ – Erm…isn’t that the whole point of seeing Steel Panther live…for the banter aswell as the music? Or have I just missed ‘the point’?

  3. “I also agree with your comments about the between song banter – more music please’ – Erm…isn’t that the whole point of seeing Steel Panther live…for the banter aswell as the music? Or have I just missed ‘the point’?”

    The between song banter takes up more space in the set than the actual music – maybe they should have beefed out the set a little more by throwing in a couple more cover’s, like they do in the States.

  4. Mate you are SERIOUSLY missing the point…

    these guys are basically very funny comedians (not just the sexist, hot-girl focused American Pie stuff) that are also incredibly talented musicians. But mostly, damn funny! These guys are ‘Vegas Baby’ and not Spinal Tap (which was displaying the music genre more as an entertainment sector for the challenged). do a simple YouTube search for Rock Skool and see the guys play with some famous stars. maybe then u will see the point of this.

    Dr Feelgood fun!

  5. I see the point. I have seen them live in the States more than once, and play very long sets, with only a smaller amount of humour, and more music. The humour I do “get”, as for a very long time, I too dressed like an 1980’s nightmare and bought in to the whole scene,and anything that pokes fun at that scene now is alright with me. However mate, the point I am trying to make, is that I would have preferred the music:comedy ratio, to be more in favour of the music, and less of the banter, especially its rehersed and the same at every show, and remarkably similar to what I saw them do in the States, last year.

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