Steel Panther, the now notorious hair-metal parody, set up a homecoming of sorts when they played a brief mini-residency at the House of Blues inside the Mandalay Bay and we were there for all the debauchery on December 1, 2017. Steel Panther likes to ask the crowd to raise your hand if you have seen them before and raise your hand if this is your first time (insert gratuitous virgin joke here), but some of us are lucky enough to go all the way back to when this band did weekends at the Ovation inside the Green Valley Ranch. Steel Panther has come a long way since those days, including supporting acts with Judas Priest and Guns N’ Roses, but their act remains the same. This band may have only one joke, but somehow they manage to keep the joke going all night long.
Tonight’s show was a little unique as it was opened by not one but two of the hottest local acts in town. Baker’s Dozen continues to climb the ranks in the local music scene and tonight was evidence of just why that is the case. While one local act climbs the rank there was also Brent Muscat, formally of Faster Pussycat, with his Saints of Las Vegas taking a more been there and done that approach. Both of these bands kept the audience’s attention and showed why they both are one of the top local draws wherever they play.
I believe the thing that separates Steel Panther for some of the other 80’s spoofs is they have the musicianship to back it up. Sure they have some real tongue and cheek songs including “Like Tiger Woods” and “Going in the Backdoor” that leave little to the imagination, but there are also songs like “Eye of a Panther” that heard for the first time sort of makes you forget it’s a spoof at all. What may have started as a Spinal Tap sort of lounge act has blossomed into almost a cultural phenomenon throughout the entire U.S. If you are easily offended by phallic jokes and references then songs like “Fat Girl (Thar She Blows)” may make you want to stay home. In this day and age with all the rage in the news lately, Steel Panther sometimes comes across as an over the top break from reality.
So it begs the question, how many times can you hear a joke, even a really good one, before the joke begins to get old. Judging by the size of the crowd inside the House of Blues and considering the fact that Steel Panther had just made several recent appearances there, it looks like the joke is still on us!