Steel Panther + The Sirens concert review
Kicking off at 4 am, we got on the road at about 5, headed for Calais, then Folkstone, then straight off to Sheffield for a gig that's been too long overdue..
Some road coffee, English breakfast (bacon! eggs! beans!) and we hit the road once we hit the English soil.
Arriving in the industry city of Sheffield some time before noon, we started exploring and tried to find out where the venue was (only to learn that we parked right underneath it and walked around for no reason).
Football fans in the streets, extreme police presence and some awesome music shops didn't help us shaking the feeling that Sheffield's best days were long gone...
So we sat down for some Belgian beer, proudly announced in a local pub, found out that only Stella was served there, but kicked it nonetheless. Just a few hours to go and no time to let the fatigue hit us.
Returning to the O2 Academy, we noticed that the group of diehard fans had grown larger than it did some hours before, which meant that it was near gig-time.
After some ticket issues, we entered the Academy and moved to the balcony area with a nice lounge bar, only to find out that the place was packed already
The venue held at least 2000 people, who were now all singing along to Bohemian Rhapsody and Here I Go Again. So much for our atmosphere fears, one huge load of our backs that was!
After the obligatory drinks, we started looked for some good spots on the balcony, since the crowd was starting to cheer for the first act of the night: The Sirens.
Three 50s-inspired ladies hit the stage on some of the greater metal tunes for all different fans and started shaking what their mama gave them.
Being a little too enthousiastic due to the immense crowd, there were some slip-ups in their "show", but this was a great opener for what was following...
Short after the ladies went off-stage, the curtains were drawn, only to reveal a small side of the huge Steel Panther flag. Pressure was rising.
Once the band hit the stage, the crowd just went ape shit. Singalongs from the first to the last word, intensive headbanging and raised fists/horns/shockers, it looked like it came out of a rock movie.
Steel Panther played just about every song of the Feel The Steel album, forgetting only Stripper Girl I believe. They did so with full force and matched the album performance perfectly.
No overdubs when there was no need for them, Michael's vocals sounding spot-on and just a great interaction altogether set the tune for a great show.
An additional asset was the stand-up comedian-like rants between songs. They clearly studied a lot to get these jokes right, but do they ever work!
It's fair to say that they had the people on their hands after only a few minutes. A good night or simply a good band, who knows, all I can tell is that this would be a gig to remember.
The reason for the many name changes during the years is still a mystery to me (Metal Skool, Metal Shop, now Steel Panther), but they took it all the way. Not one old song was played.
We heard no cover songs all night, except for the encores, which might also be the reason why they changed name and moved away from the glam-parody cover band they used to be.
They did still prove that they love every cliché in the rock n' roll world and dragged it right through the mud ("buy lots of merch guys, we have a coke addiction that needs supporting").
However, they did so without once letting people believe that didn't completely love and adore this way of life.
There's little to be said about a set full of great songs, so let's just sum up what put Steel Panther above the ordinary gig:
- Penis and VD-related jokes. Lots of them;
- A dance-off with The Sirens during Asian Hooker;
- Respectful mentioning of Def Leppard in their home town;
- Four girls getting on stage and flashing on command (cheesy, but oh so fitting to their entire image);
- Great encore songs, including a near-perfect Welcome To The Jungle and Run To The Hills with a singer plucked right from the audience;
There was only one thing that disturbed me a little bit (even though my wallet will disagree), which was the lack of merchandising (two different shirts per band, nothing more).
Where were the Steel Panther thongs and bandanas? Where were the cds?
Leaving the venue, enjoying a well-deserved smoke after screaming our throats to pieces, we were ready to hit the road again. Estimated time of arrival in the home country: 7 am.
A weekend to remember, or to quote one of my travel companions: It was the high mass of Heavy Metal!
--Written by JJ --