Review by Ritchie Birnie
Photography by Gavin Lowrey
It is a blustery, cold night in Glasgow but if you look around the streets it could very well be a certain rock festival, based on a race course three decades ago. Everywhere you look there are mullets, spandex and leopard print. I wonder what the locals are thinking? There are some very confused faces amongst the crowd but for those in the know it can be only one thing…Steel Panther are in town!
First up on the bill are The Lounge Kittens (2/5). This is going to be short and sweet I am afraid ladies……WTF? I am confused, I have been flung back even further in time to the TV Sci-fi series lost in space- it does not compute, it does not compute. What is just as surprising to me is the reaction of the crowd. Some people are actually enjoying hearing classic rock and metal songs being butchered beyond belief by a trio of female singers (and one dodgy organ, no jokes now) in the vein of 1950s cabaret. It ia horrible. Please note the 2 stars given in this review were 1, for the matching dresses and 2 for turning up (although I could not decide if this should have been taken of the score). No more to be said on this.
Next up ia Skindred( 4/5) and they are more like it. “The Imperial March” from Star Wars blasts through the speakers and then Benji Webbe strolls onto the stage like the predator in a top hat and shades and the party begins. This man was born to perform. He gets the crowd up and in the palm of his hand within minutes, even though he has a Union Jack wrapped around his mic stand (Welsh or Scottish flag in future please Benji).
If you have never been to a Skindred gig get it sorted now. You are looking at all the fun of a festival, rave and reggae house party rolled into one. “Kill the Power” kicks things off and switches the cr0wd into complete frenzy. The drums kick in and we blast into “Doom Riff” next. There is no one who does what Skindred does better. They are completely original, the sound, the melding of genres. On paper this should not work but it does and live is the environment to experience it. After getting the crowd whipped up even more with the sing along we go full force into “Rat Race”, another classic with great hooks and a good old screamathon in the middle.
The next three songs fly by in complete party mode and then we hear the riffs to Metallica’s “Sad but True”- what a brilliant version! The band play it to perfection and we ended it with some fist pumping and Benji being the complete showman and aware that he will have people here who may not have heard of them so he asks for fists to be pumped…..not for Skindred, not for Steel Panther, but for Rock…The guy knows how to work a crowd.
We finish up with “Nobody” and “Warning” and the Welsh boys do their Celtic cousins proud. A barnstormer of a show was performed tonight by a band that have done the rounds over the years and it shows. The only way to hone your skills is on a stage and this band tour constantly. If you are not seeing them on this tour watch out for them at festivals as they are perfect for that setting too.
Intro, the Imperial March
Kill the power
Sad but True
It must be nearly time, Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast” is blaring, the crowd are singing it word for word. Please gather up your political correctness and dump it in the nearest bin for the next 90 minutes, you will not be needing it.
All joking aside it amazes me Steel Panther (4.5/5) get away with what they do. The way the world is these days it is a sheer delight to watch all the shenanigans unfold live (and as Diamond Dave would say) in front of your steaming eyes and ears. Has common sense prevailed at last or have they just slipped under the radar? These guys are the reason Dee Snider went in front of Congress to fight for freedom of Speech. I wonder if they could ever imagine in their wildest, wettest dreams when they were playing cover songs, weekly on the sunset strip that they would be selling out shows regularly, that they would have a huge stage set and be bigger now than some of the bands they covered.
They blast into “Pussywhipped” from the latest album, All You Can Eat, and such is the band’s following that the lyrics are screamed back at them from the adoring crowd (both boys and girls I must say). From here into the 1st single from the same album, “Party Like Tomorrow is the End of the World” and party is what the crowd does. We get a short interlude where Michael informs us of his new sexual position…a number 72. It’s a 69 with the other band members watching. Don’t groan there is a lot more of this to come.
Having seen the band a number of times now you would think the patter may get a bit stale but it doesn’t. The band have too much fun doing this.
“Fat Girl” is up next- see what I mean about being PC? “Tomorrow” and “The Shocker” skip by so we can get to the Lexxi Hair solo- an integral part of the show. It’s a bit of a 70s hair product advert…..or a possible bodyform commercial, I haven’t made my mind up yet. Before we get to “17 Girls in a Row” and the usual collection of rather scantily clad ladies on stage we are informed by Satchel that the band love Glasgow but have absolutely no idea what we are saying.
After the loose women have left the stage we go right into (the puns keep coming, see what I mean) “Gloryhole”, and if you have seen the rather disturbing video you will be glad to know there are no fluids present (other than beer).
Next up is “Weenie Ride” from Balls Out and Satchel lets loose on the frets and you can see clearly how fantastically talented (as well as owning more vests than Geoff Tate) he is. We get more songs, more banter, more mayhem and more testosterone than a herd of male rhinos charging each other before we get to “Asian Hooker”. A real fan favourite that sees one of Glasgow’s own Asian ladies crowd surf to the front off the stage( although she looks very familiar…).
The night continues with “Eyes of the Panther”. Once the song is complete a fan holds up a sign asking to play drums on Eyes. So he gets onstage (is that a VIP pass already pinned on his trousers?) and he gets the chance to fail in front of thousands…but doesn’t. It’s all good fun and part of the show (had it not been for my Colombo tendencies I would have been fooled too).
One more song before we hit the encore of “Community Property” ( the crowd is loud on this one) and “Party all day”. We get the confetti cannon and it’s all over (after Michael’s very responsible advice for anyone who has been been drinking and plan to drive- do a line of coke first). The 80s have to go now, until the next time guys.