May 28, 2014

Steel Panther bring 80s metal back to Toronto

I can see through time.

It's 1988 in here.

Mullets abound, even though they're almost all wigs. Devil horns. Metal t-shirts. Hairspray. Zebra stripe pants. Leather miniskirts. High, high heels. Headbands. Eye make-up on the boys and the girls. Big hair. And everyone with a high tolerance for dirty-minded lyrics and in a mood for fun.
Outside The Sound Academy, a bride and groom are posing for photos with the Toronto skyline in the background. Back inside it's an 80s heavy metal Halloween. There's even a dude dressed as the shocker.
Between bands they're playing tunes including Quiet Riot's "Metal Health", Whitesnake's "Slide It In", AC/DC's "Shoot to Thrill", Cinderella's "Shake Me" and finally Iron Maiden's "Number of the Beast" is cranked up to signify the coming of the band we've all been waiting for, Steel Panther.
One thing is clear - these guys can play. They came to entertain and that's what they did. Their songs walk a line between tribute and parody of the best of the 80s metal scene. They even play up bands like Slayer. Between songs they lead us through some fascinating stories and general banter, as well as regaling us with the opening riffs to famous 80s metal tunes. And we all knew the night wouldn't be right without a full on Van Halen style heavy metal guitar god solo. Was I the only one left wondering, "Where's the drum solo?"
And they're funny. Their R- to X-Rated lyrics poke fun at the machismo of 80s metal and make the whole Steel Panther package unique and brilliant. Glad I got to catch the show. Glad I got to photograph them. These guys know how to pose it up for the camera. I think I know what it was like to photograph bands back in the days of the classics like Van Halen and Mötley Crüe only with the glory of digital. In short, fun show and I'd definitely see them again.