Steel Panther (w/ Future Villains)
November 2, 2016
Review by: Ruben Mosqueda
Steel Panther formed in 2000; at that time they were known as Metal Shop they quickly changed their name to Metal Skool. The band mainly played regionally in the Southern California area. Metal Skool performed covers of 80s glam rock acts and incorporated some 80s ‘colorful rock shtick’ between songs for good measure. Metal Skool was featured in a Discover Card TV commercial where they portrayed a band named Danger Kitty. In 2008 the band elected to make yet another name change to Steel Panther and it was then that they began to gain momentum. Since that time Steel Panther’s shows have gained notoriety and have become a global phenomenon.
In subsequent years Steel Panther have gone on to release their ‘major label debut’ ‘Feel The Steel’ , ‘Balls Out’ , ‘All You Can Eat’  and they have a record in the works due in early 2017 titled ‘Lower The Bar.’ Over the course of the past 7-8 years Steel Panther have established quite the career for themselves; in Europe they pack arenas and are staples at the major hard rock and metal festivals. In North America they are beginning to generate momentum and performing at theaters.
This brings us to Steel Panther’s show at Portland’s Roseland Theater on November 2nd, 2016. Steel Panther brought along L.A. act Future Villains who have opened shows with Steel Panther in the past in and around North America and Canada. Future Villains are edgy, modern rock, they look great on stage together and they have the ‘rock star’ look down. I couldn’t find anything remarkable about them; they were good at what they did I suppose. At least we didn’t get some L.A. act like Warner Drive opening this show–that would have made it unbearable even with several adult beverages in hand.
Steel Panther IS an acquired taste and one must approach them somewhere between a ‘novelty’ or ‘comedy act;’ because well they are both. Steel Panther’s albums chart on the Billboard Comedy charts; so you can take Steel Panther about as seriously as one would take ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic. A Steel Panther is like traveling back in time to the 80s when rock ‘n’ roll was about excess, loud guitars, fun shows and forgetting about whatever is happening in your life for good or bad. It’s essentially an escape where you become part of the show and audience participation is obligatory—more so if you’re a female and you have big breasts. On this night we had the pleasure of having an actual stripper in the audience that—you guessed it; she flashed her incredibly fake breasts!
Frontman Michael Starr [Ralph Saenz] is a dead ringer for David Lee Roth which it shouldn’t surprise you that he fronted the L.A. based Van Halen tribute band The Atomic Punks who were arguably the best [Roth] Van Halen tribute act in the world. Steel Panther guitarist Satchel [Russ Parrish] was also in ‘The Punks’ with Starr [Saenz] and he tackled the role of Eddie Van Halen and he did that well. Rounding out the band is drummer Stix Zadinia [Darren Leader] who is a bombastic drummer and bassist Lexxi Foxx [Travis Haley] who I don’t know what his skills set is because he spends ¾ of the time looking at himself in his hand held mirror. It’s brilliant!
Steel Panther are no question an ‘adult oriented’ show [hence the 21+ admittance] and have a ‘locker room humor’ show chock full 80s sex fueled stage banter with immaculately executed musicianship. It’s hard not to walk out with a gigantic smile on your face and feeling somewhat dumbfounded at what just took place; as you get in your car heading home to hit the sack to get up early the following morning for the daily grind that is life. The highlights of the the show; were the rockers “Eye of A Panther,” “Asian Hooker,” “Just Like Tiger Woods,” Let Me Cum In,” “It Won’t Suck Itself,” and their ballad “Community Property.” A Steel Panther show is something that everyone should experience at least once. I haven’t seen this many wigs, makeup, and spandex since witnessing Dokken back in the 80s