Steel Panther – Groningen, February 4, 2014

Following a trend of bringing bigger bands to a region usually neglected in terms of international artists, Steel Panther kicked off their 2014 European tour in the city of Groningen, in the northeastern part of the Netherlands. Just like with Megadeth, the venue of choice was De Oosterpoort, a place that is rightfully becoming an important center for events of this caliber.

After a fun, yet forgettable, set by the glam rock Dutch ensemble The Dirty Denims, and following a spin of the Iron Maiden classic “The Number of the Beast” 1)There were just too many people who clearly didn’t know the song, something that pissed me off probably more than it should. Still, if you don’t know the “Number of the Beast” you shouldn’t be here. Steel Panther was welcomed to the stage by their screaming adoring fans, some of them dressed in what they assumed people wore in the 80s.

After opening with “Eyes of a Panther”, the band took the audience on a ride visiting the highlights of their discography, including the mandatory “Death to all but Metal”, “Asian Hooker”, “It Won’t Suck Itself” and “Community Property”, as well as cuts from their upcoming album All You Can Eat, such as “Party Like Tomorrow is the End of the World”, “Gloryhole” and “The Burden of Being Wonderful”. Of course, all the songs included the traditional jokes by the band, as well as some “intermissions” in which they’d mock each other’s penis sizes, called men in the audience gay, and confessed to having been molested during their childhood by different relatives. You know, classy shit.

IMG_4887

What really fascinates me about Steel Panther, particularly in their live events, is that even though they’re very obviously a comedy band, there are just too many people that don’t seem to get the joke. I don’t mean that some people are offended by the lyrics of Steel Panther (although this probably happens, since they say some truly horrible shit) but rather that some of the fans think that the band’s (fake) attitude is “totally awesome brah!”and that they represent a real “party on brah!” attitude.

Take a look, for example, at the following comments left on the band’s Youtube video for “Party Like Tomorrow is the End of the World”:

SP

What the above randomized selection of mouth breathers seem to have missed (and it appears to be a common trait in this particular fan base) is that the song isn’t serious; what’s even worse is that, unlike what happened in Beastie Boys’ “Fight for your Right to Party”, the sarcasm isn’t exactly hidden. With lyrics like “don’t worry about HIV”, “make love to a sheep or a cow”, and “poke a silverback gorilla in the eye”, what the band is doing is making fun of the mythological party attitude of the rock n’ roll scene. Of course, the fact that someone would praise this as “totally like we lived in the 80s man!!!!” does beg the question as to what the fuck they were doing back then.

Don’t get me wrong; I like Steel Panther and I think that they’re talented musicians (Sachel is a great guitar player and Michael Starr is just a terrific singer) and they can definitely put up a great show. Hell, their concerts are some of the most entertaining things you can see; it’s just that I still can’t believe that some people don’t get the joke.

As part of their fake personas, Michael and Satchel urged girls from the audience to show their tits and go on stage. Although the amount of breasts was less than I expected (only one or two pairs actually graced the audience) a bunch of girls got on stage, with one of them being particularly adamant to dance like a stripper and get other girls to make out with her (you know, because lesbians love to see their sexuality portrayed as a fetish by some barsexual teens). This was particularly funny because she’d do the same pole-less pole dance regardless of the music that was being played, which made her movements seem very awkward, and evidenced her desire to just be noticed.

IMG_5108

While I was in the photo pit, a girl photographer next to me was actually shocked by the kind of shit that some of the girls in the audience were doing in response to some of the most fucked up things said by the band, including invitations to get a finger (and probably a dick) up their asses or suck Satchel’s dick. She seemed surprised by the eagerness with which some of these girls, who clearly took the thing seriously, wanted to participate in this clearly demeaning spectacle. A friend of mine, who happens to have a daughter, was also shocked by this, and I could feel how the cogs in his brain were trying to determine what he had to avoid doing in order to keep her from growing up like that.

Some years ago I saw a bit by Chris Rock in which he said that when it came to his daughter, his one mission was “to keep her off the pole”, because “I might not be a great father but if your daughter is a stripper… you fucked up”.

Someone, somewhere, truly fucked up.

IMG_5088

References   [ + ]

1. There were just too many people who clearly didn’t know the song, something that pissed me off probably more than it should. Still, if you don’t know the “Number of the Beast” you shouldn’t be here.