TVD Live Shots: Steel Panther at La Riviera, Madrid, 2/12

God bless Steel Panther. For those of us who grew up listening to “hair metal” and love the glory days of the Sunset Strip, we have a savior, or saviors, in the form of Michael Starr, Lexxi Foxx, Stixx Zandinia, and Satchel. ( I know, it’s like just Satchel?) Steel Panther continue their mission of keeping a lost art alive while taking excessiveness to a whole new level and reminding us all how ridiculous hair metal at times became.

Legend has it that Steel Panther were on the brink of signing the largest record deal in history back in the ’80s. All the major labels came to their showcase one night in LA, but the band never showed up. According to Dee Snider, their manager told them to be at the showcase, and they mistakenly thought he said to go out and get shit-faced. The labels ended up signing Jane’s Addiction, and the rest is history.

Fast forward 20 plus years and the band continues to celebrate a “fruitful” resurrection with their latest album Lower the Bar which “does exactly what it says on the tin.” Songs such as “Going in the Backdoor” and the insanely catchy “Poontang Boomerang” continue the insanity and political incorrectness that is the genius of this band.

But don’t let that fool you, these guys can write a great fucking song. The single “That’s When You Came In” is a remarkably well-written song led by an unfortunate chorus, but either way, this gem would stand up against any of the classic power ballads—”Every Rose Has It’s Thorn,” “Heaven”—you name it. While these guys may not take the genre too seriously—who still can for that matter?—they have some serious skills and noteworthy songwriting talents, in terms of pure unadulterated party rock ‘n’ roll, that is.

Their live show is one of the most incredibly entertaining things I have seen and I would easily go see this show five or six more times this year. It’s nostalgic, comedic, partly a sing-along, and always excessive and insulting. It’s almost as if the backstage antics of Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard in their heyday have been moved to center stage for all to see—with no shame whatsoever and with full commentary. That to me is fascinating. Even more interesting is watching this show in Madrid while the band practiced their Spanish (with notes written on their hands). It added an entirely new level of Spinal Tap to the show, while the universal love for 80’s hair metal translated perfectly.

I’m not sure what song they were playing, but at one point during the set, the band brought numerous girls from the crowd onto the stage where they danced it up with the band and sang along. Now, this is what I remember about going to a metal show in the ’80s!

Steel Panther head back to the states for several dates in March. If’ you haven’t seen this show then do yourself a favor and go have some fun rediscovering the glory days of hair metal.

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