Steel Panther – Amsterdam, Nov. 1 2012

In what was one of those weird situations in which somebody else’s misery benefits you, I managed to get a ticket for the sold-out Amsterdam show of Steel Panther after a friend of a friend got into a car crash and couldn’t go (she’s OK though, relax).

Steel Panther is a mock band, a mixture between Spinal Tap and shits bands such as Mötley Crüe and Poison, playing, deliberately, on some of the most obnoxious stereotypes of this crap genre.
The venue, the Melkweg in Amsterdam, was filled to capacity, with little or no room for movement, mostly with teenage girls, who were dying to see the band.

Although there was an opening band, it was so bad and forgettable, that the fact that I’m currently going online to find their name is, literally, bothering me. Anyway, they were The Dirty Denims (get it? because in the 80’s jeans were, like, a thing…) and they were shit. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that the audio was malfunctioning, since it wasn’t, but rather that what they were bringing to the table was pure nothingness. With a sound that seemed identical to that Bug Girl, The Dirty Denims had clearly (And just like Bug Girl) been watching a lot of 80’s and early 90’s coming-of-age flicks, since they seemed to have shaped their sound around that of the OMGTHATGIRLISPLAYINGTHELECTRICGUITAR band that was basically part of every single one of those fucking movies. And just like I hate it when some goddamn douchebag decides to buy a fedora (NEVER buy a fedora. EVER.) get an acoustic guitar and sun glasses and pretend he’s Oasis or some shit like that, I have a problem with people who try to exemplify their rebellion in such simplistic, derivative and pre-manufactured ways… but we’ll get back to that.


When Steel Panther came on the stage 1) Let me rant here for a second: Before the band went on stage, the speakers were blasting Iron Maiden’s The Number of the Beast”, and I noticed that some damn kids didn’t know the lyrics. As I’ve said before, if you like metal and don’t know Iron Maiden I think you should go and get fucked by an AIDS infested donkey. the place truly went crazy. I have been at the Melkweg for shows of bands like Korpiklaani, Eluveitie, Nevermore, Symphony X, Varg, Sabaton, Guano Apes, Unleashed and Moonsorrow, and yet I had never been as pushed as I was when Michael Starr (singer) went on stage. Girls with red bandanas, ripped jeans and all around slutty 80’s clothing were screaming their lungs out, while douchebags with bandanas, ripped skinny jeans, fingerless leather gloves and sunglasses (yes, sunglasses indoors) were trying to grope as many girls under the age of consent as possible.

Despite the fact that I am not that familiar with Steel Panther‘s material, although I own and have listened to their albums, the choice of songs in the set list seemed more than appropriate, covering “ballads”  such as Community Property”, “Like Tiger Woods” and “If You Really Really Love me”, dance-ish pieces such as “Let me Cum in” and, of course, their very successful “Death to all but Metal” (which although would be a great way to close the set, was actually used before that.


Although you can’t question the energy they put on their performance, the show does have a very scripted feeling, with all the jokes and smartass comments being prepared in advance (hell, some of their zingers were, quite literally, taken from their own lyrics). While it is absolutely understandable that if you are on the road for long periods of time you can’t exactly be creative and witty every night on demand, it would be nice to see some more spontaneity.

Steel Panther‘s shows, as well as their interviews, video blogs, etc., are all done tongue-in-cheek, playing on the silly stereotypes of the brainless hair-metal moron obsessed with (jailbait) sex and drugs, and with a high dose of self deprecating humor (mostly about how their dicks are small, they have venereal diseases and they are dumb)… and yet, some people really don’t seem to get it. It’s like Steel Panther, in a certain way, is the ultimate troll.

Stephen Colbert, the comedian that hosts “The Colbert Report” satirizing ultra conservative assholes such as Bill O’Reillly and Glenn Beck, has said that he does not let his young children watch his show, because they may not really understand that it’s a satire, a joke, a lie, and actually take him seriously (and then, when they see the truth, believe that he has lied to them). Well, to a certain extent it seemed as if some people in the audience were actually like that, like they really didn’t get the joke.

Some men in the audience seemed to honestly believe that the funny, yet otherwise revolting, lyrics were serious (and appropriate) and that the fake rebellious attitude was real, as if this was a real 80’s band (and I don’t say that in a positive way). Some of the girls also seemed to be blinded by this, and were dying to go on stage and be objectified as much as possible, not realizing that the men on stage were (quite masterfully) playing a part. It was really funny, yet odd, to see girls (most of them very much underage) go on stage and be treated very respectfully by the same guys (Most of whom are married men with children) who kept talking about slipping their pinkies up girls’ assholes, apparently eager to actually be taken backstage and treated like a piece of meat (that’s pretty much their words, not mine).
Steel Panther didn’t only offer a good musical experience but also opened the door for a fantastic social experiment that would probably motivate countless of feminists to blow their brains out (and when you consider that some crazy women see flirting with them is objectifying and abusing them, you can only assume that their reaction to this would be a suicide attack).

How sure am I of the fact that some people didn’t get to see that it was a joke? Well, there was a girl, in hysterics, crying while singing “my cock is community property”. At some point the band, in an attempt to get girls to flash, said something in the lines of “Come on, there must have been a bad father out there!”. And yeah, there definitely was.

ADDENDUM: I received a (fair) criticism to the above review, pointing out that I didn’t really address whether the show was good or not. Since my convoluted and pseudo intellectual writing style can be annoying for some, here’s a straight-to-the-point review:

Steel Panther’s first-ever Dutch show was, without a doubt, a success for the band. Not taking into consideration a truly forgettable opening act, the show, although not breathtaking, managed to entertain even those who, like me, were not all too familiar with the band’s material. Good (albeit scripted) jokes, good musicianship in terms of solos and on-stage performance, will definitely make those who couldn’t get a ticket, crave for the band’s next visit to the Low Countries. 

 

References   [ + ]

1. Let me rant here for a second: Before the band went on stage, the speakers were blasting Iron Maiden’s The Number of the Beast”, and I noticed that some damn kids didn’t know the lyrics. As I’ve said before, if you like metal and don’t know Iron Maiden I think you should go and get fucked by an AIDS infested donkey.
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Considered by his mother as the brightest and prettiest boy, J’s interest in metal started in his early teens, listening to bands like Iron Maiden and Metallica (coupled with an embarrassing period in which Marilyn Manson “totally represents me, man”) eventually moving into the realm of power, black, and death metal.
He holds a PhD in law, trains martial arts, practices law, and enjoys coming up with excuses as to why he has to miss work after going to a concert. He also dabbles as a concert photographer, you can see his sub-par work on his instagram.