Review: Slash + Steel Panther, Melbourne

Slash feat. Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators + Steel Panther
Festival Hall, Melbourne
26 February 2015
Review by Damo Musclecar

STEEL PANTHER supporting SLASH seemed too good to be true but those lovely folks at Soundwave made it a reality. Tonight was going to be a trip down memory lane for some, an insight into rock n roll for others, and just an all-round good time for everyone.

If you grew up with 80s hair metal and glam rock, then you would be all too familiar with the ridiculousness of a STEEL PANTHER live show. Parodying the antics of bands like MOTLEY CRUE, POISON, and WARRANT with their humorous (and scripted) on-stage banter and synchronised stage moves, STEEL PANTHER are more than just some childish lyrics and comedic value. These guys have killer riffs, flawless musicianship and a vocalist with enough prowess and personality to leave most frontmen far behind. Coming on stage to a thunderous applause, it was immediately obvious that the crowd were here for the PANTHER just as much as the headlining act.

Tearing right into ‘Pussywhipped’, the audience was on it tonight and the band fed off the energy. Whether they were partying like it’s the end of the world or singing about Asian hookers, the show was off to a firing start and there was no way anyone was going to be walking away feeling cheated. As the show went on, and female flesh became as big a hit as the songs themselves, the band delivered a perfect set of kick ass glam rock.

With Lexxi Foxx’s amusing hair solo, Satchel’s bitchin’ guitar solo and the Extreme-esque ballad of ‘Girl From Oklahoma’, it would appear that these guys can do no wrong. Seriously, if you’re smart enough to get past the wigs, the choreographed show, and the “dumb” lyrics, you will still find a band with some seriously great tunes. Sure, it’s funny and all that but there’s more to it than the nonsense and the comedy show. STEEL PANTHER have managed to find a formula and make it work and like GREEN DAY did for THE RAMONES, THE CLASH and STILL LITTLE FINGERS, I sure hope STEEL PANTHER’s fans go back into the past and check out some albums by CINDRELLA, DANGER DANGER, WHITE LION, and SMASHED GLADYS to see just where this music came from and why it’s so funny now. The band finished with their anthemic ‘Death To All But Metal’ and it all seemed to fly by so fast. I guess that’s just what happens when you’re having fun.

Waiting for SLASH and Co. to take the stage, the electricity was definitely in the air and once the lights dimmed and the band appeared on stage with SLASH decked out in his signature top hat and Les Paul, it didn’t take long for the band to bring it and get right into ‘You’re A Lie’ which had the whole crowd armed and ready to rock! Diving right into ‘Nightrain’, the whole place was moving and it occurred to me right then that I don’t want a GUNS ‘N’ ROSES reunion with the original line-up. I’ve seen Axl’s version of the band and he just can’t cut it live yet vocalist Myles Kennedy can deliver each song with ease and perfection. The guy can wail and if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Whether he sang slower numbers like ‘Back From Cali’ and ‘Starlight’ or wailed through heavier rockers like ‘You Could Be Mine’ and ‘World On Fire’, he showed no signs of slowing down. Kennedy is the best thing to happen to SLASH and together they create rock n roll magic. Even bassist Todd Kearns took the helm for a couple of tunes including Gunners classic ‘Out Ta Get Me’ which sounded spot on.

As good as SLASH’s solo work is, and let’s face it, it’s pretty damn awesome, the GNR covers were the cream of the crop and it goes to show that even with one GNR member, these songs still go down a treat with the fans. With a legacy so important to the music of 80s, he still gives it the respect it deserves by not delivering half-assed performances of songs so dear to the hearts of many. ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ was note perfect both vocally and playing and SLASH’s extended guitar solo during ‘Rocket Queen’ was simply flawless before breaking out into one of the finest endings to any song ever written, ever.

SLASH and his cohorts are the perfect example of a great rock band. Their live shows are full of energy and good times and they even make the VELVET REVOLVER song ‘Slither’ kick some serious butt (I was never a Scott Weiland fan but I love hearing this line-up do it). Finishing their two hour and 15 minute set with a cover of LED ZEPPELIN’s ‘Immigrant Song’ and the epic ‘Paradise City’, Melbourne’s foundations were shook.

This was an incredible show and quite possibly the best performance SLASH and Co. have ever played here. Everything was on point and sounded great and was a treat for all those in attendance. Safe to say, if you missed it, well, you most definitely missed out. Don’t make a habit of it.

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Written by Robyn Morrison

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