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Steel Panther / Mean Venus

Mexicali Blues

Teaneck, NJ

October 8 2009

Jay Amabile


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Well this is a RockEyez first getting to see our good friends in MEAN VENUS and the newly born Glam kings STEEL PANTHER. We got there a little late with three quarters of MEAN VENUS’s set done. But the couple songs we heard the crowd was cheering these guys on. We’ve been friends with Chigger for some time now and the path he is following just makes sense. MEAN VENUS is explosive with full throttle metal up your ass. These guys hit hard with pulsating tunes and the couple tunes we heard kicked ass. Front man J can work the crowd and had the fans cheering for more. Maybe next time we can make it on time, but this was a SOLD OUT show with the line out the door. We also got to meet some fans of RockEyez and we welcome Jay Amabile as a new contributor, which wrote this review. Great Job Jay!!!

If a spoonful of sugar makes medicine go down, then a heavy dose of perverse sexual humor shoves the metal down your throat. Disguising articulate pop metal with dirty jokes has been the successful formula behind STEEL PANTHER, a SPINAL TAP for the hair metal scene. The band, clad in neon zebra print and love gun accentuating spandex, has been selling out clubs in L.A and Vegas for nearly 10 years, and on October 8th, 2009 STEEL PANTHERsleazed it up onstage at Mexicali Blues in Teaneck, New Jersey.

Since we've successfully soared over the unnecessary hurdle that was grunge, the party rock vibe has been struck by lightning and resurrected like Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th Part VI. It's taken the hair metal genre over 15 years of derision to reclaim its dry ice and L’oreal-infused spotlight. It's officially returned with the release of STEEL PANTHER's new album (yes, album, it's actually available on vinyl!) of original songs, “Feel The Steel”, which is rock solid and hilarious. Whether you were introduced to them as DANGER KITTY , METAL SHOP, METAL SKOOL, or STEEL PANTHER, none of that matters because their fierce and fearless admiration for big haired hard rock and glossy metal, separates them from other bands who merely try to capitalize on nostalgia.

To kick off the show, the band ripped into "Eyes of a Panther" a song that prominently features hard-edged guitar shredding and a perfectly melodic chorus that recalls the upbeat, pop oriented metal songs of the '80s. When I wasn't laughing my ass off, I admired how flawlessly STEEL PANTHER's technical proficiency on their instruments combined with lead singer Michael Starr's David Lee Roth-esque vocals. I was now fully blasted into party metal mode.

Easily offended, prudish people should never step foot at a STEEL PANTHER show or buy their CD. Not only will they have to keep picking their mouth up off the floor, but they will ruin the time for the rest of us fist pumping folks with a sense of humor. A hefty greeting of rowdy applause followed the opening song and up next was the hard driving, humorous tribute to an "Asian Hooker." If you're a STEEL PANTHER virgin and never heard this track, your first instinct may be to fill up with disgust at the blatantly offensive racial lyrics, "Sucky Fucky, Smells Like Sushi," but after a minute you'll remember what it's like to hear a band that can really rock your balls off. Oh, and if you lighten up a little, it should make you laugh too. I can't imagine such over the top lyrics being taken too seriously because after seeing the band several times; there have always been Asian people in the audience front and center. They actually are big in Japan.

Much of the Teaneck, N.J crowd may not have been familiar with the PANTHERshows in L.A that frequently turned into big boobie bashes. Only a couple of girls were brave enough to hop up on stage, but one cougar slid down the sides of her jeans to reveal that the band autographed her dimpled butt cheeks. I commend her courage, whether it was the liquid variety I'm not sure, but no one was judging her because they were having nothin' but a good time.

Female fans of STEEL PANTHER aren't off limits from verbal roasting either. Michael Starr pointed out a girl standing near the stage and said " not the fat girl, that one," referring to a short stout brunette next to her. Somehow, even a comment like that doesn't come across as insulting, and the girl in question wasn't at all upset by it. The band even lovingly admitted in "Fat Girl," that obese women do have merit when they're "snacking on my c-ck again." Next to drugs, sex was the biggest component that fueled the era of '80s hard rock, so it seems only natural for STEEL PANTHER to exploit it. Fat women and slutty girls aren't the only ones to get made fun of though; they also have no problems poking fun at themselves.

Satchel: "Michael Starr's the fat version of David Lee Roth..." Michael Starr: "No dude, I like to think of myself as a thin version of Vince Neil!"

When he wasn't shooting sarcastic comebacks and dirty looks back at Michael Starr, Satchel on lead guitar exploded the expectations of a small club concert into the highest stratosphere of arena rock. He expertly delivered the most awesomely frantic "encyclopedia of metal" guitar solo. From his metalized "Flight of the Bumblebee," to Nugent, SABBATH, GNR, and VAN HALEN, Satchel incorporated a barrage of familiar rock riffs while his foot pounded on the bass drum pedal to hammer it home. The solo was so ferocious that he broke a guitar string. During a momentary break to fix it, Michael Starr talked with the crowd and asked if there was anything we wanted to hear. Since they came to Jersey, I yelled out "TRIXTER!" and Michael Starr replied "Pussy," but Lexxi indulged me with the first few notes of "Give it to Me Good" while my friends and I sang along.

If his shimmery purple bass doesn't distract you, then bassist Lexxi Foxxx's killer hair will. He's the only man in rock that has ever given an actual "hair solo," and it's quite entertaining. It'll make you think differently about life. Actually, Lexxi is a talented bassist, and during his down time from primping, touching up his makeup, teasing his hair, and making airheaded comments, Lexxi found the time to rock out with Satchel in a choreographed fashion. About the drummer, Stix Zadinia, it's not just a clever name; he really knows how to pound.

With the price of admission you'll not only receive a big rock show, a comedy act, but also a sex education course. STEEL PANTHER provided those unfamiliar with directions on how to put "Two in the pink and one in the stink," in "The Shocker." If you were never clear on the subject, STEEL PANTHER also gave us a lesson in acceptable guidelines when cheating on your girlfriend with "Eatin' Ain't Cheatin." The bands enthusiasm for their own songs was infectious.

For an encore, the band went back to their roots and played a couple of '80s hard rock hits. In L.A., celebrities and musicians are known to join the band on stage for a song or two. To name a few, Paul Stanley, Vince Vaughn, Pink, Kelly Clarkson, and Jessica Simpson have jumped on the mic. On this night, DANGER DANGER's lead singer, Ted Poley, was in the house and he joined the band for a fitting performance of "Naughty Naughty." For the finale, STEEL PANTHER erupted into a high voltage cover of MOTLEY CRUE's "Kickstart my Heart."

Compromising artistic integrity is a concern to many bands, but not STEEL PANTHER. They are willing to do whatever it takes to bring feel good party rock back to the forefront, even if it means catching VD in the process. Fusing together their sick musical talents and abundant song repertoire like a spinning Cotton Candy machine, STEEL PANTHER whips up a sugary, sexed up, perverse pop metal album. Like other albums of the hair metal genre, “Feel The Steel” ranks up there with the likes of “Hysteria” and “Open Up and Say Ahh”. That's not a joke because according to Satchel it's the #1 album in Guam and it has apparently sold 12 copies.

In these trying economic times, a STEEL PANTHER show is actually a two for one deal. You'll not only get blown away with a kick ass rock show, but you're cheeks will hurt from laughing the entire time. Any run of the mill hair metal revival band who takes themselves seriously would get laughed off the stage, but in STEEL PANTHER's case, the audience demands more. Behind their glam outfits and wild wigs, is an ultra talented hard rock band. If you are a hair metal enthusiast like myself, and you love to laugh, then check out a STEEL PANTHER concert, it was an ultimately amusing experience.

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