I had the rare opportunity to catch the mighty Steel Panther as they played Nashville, TN for the first time in their career. This was my first time ever seeing the band play, though I’ve been a fan for several years. While I have seen live clips of them online, playing to huge crowds in Europe at Download Festival and other big shows, I found myself taken off guard by how awesome they were at the 1500-capacity Marathon Music Works.
Hillbilly Herald, the support act on Steel Panther’s current tour, started things off for the night. I knew right away that they would be a fun band after seeing their microphone stand was a Wizard’s Staff (See Wizard’s Staff, the drinking game) constructed of multiple, stacked PBR cans, but was pleasantly surprised by the band’s stage presence and showmanship (see photos below). Their Southern-rock stylings were just right to fire up the crowd, and the audience was certainly more intoxicated by the end of their set.
With the audience having now grown to almost full-capacity, with many fans decked-out in 80’s attire, there was about a 25-minute delay as the stage was readied, before a 14-song set from Steel Panther, who took the stage with the track “Supersonic Sex Machine”. It’d be easy to imagine these guys, now in their mid 40’s, having difficulty playing live, but in all honesty, I’m not sure if I’ve seen a band play tighter live than they did. And on top of their musicianship, their stage-show was easily the funniest I’ve had the pleasure of seeing. Early on in the set, vocalist, Michael Starr, noted how great it was to be playing the country music capital of the USA, joking that country music star, Jake Owen was supposedly in attendance, and suggesting that his wife come back stage for some after-show activities. Their set included newer songs such as, “17 Girls in a Row” and “Just Like Tiger Woods”, as well as older tracks like “Community Property”, “Fat Girl (Thar She Blows)”, “Eyes of a Panther” and more, and featured an impressive guitar solo from lead guitarist, Satchel.
In between songs, the on-stage banter was pretty damn funny, with bassist Lexxi Foxx fluffing his hair and gazing at his reflection in a bedazzled hand-mirror. The bassist was often the butt of Starr and Satchel’s raunchy jokes, but didn’t seem to mind. Of course it wouldn’t be a Steel Panther show without there being several scantily-clad ladies onstage for Starr to croon to, and this night was no different. Altogether, the band put on a hell of a show–even the event staff seemed to have a good time. You can catch Steel Panther on tour this month on May 16th in Toronto, May 19th at Rock on the Range in Columbus, Ohio, and May 25th in St. Louis, MO before the band returns to playing weekly shows at the House of Blues in Las Vegas and on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood in June and July. Check out photos from both Steel Panther and Hillbilly Herald’s sets below.