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Live Review & Photos: STEEL PANTHER at Manchester Apollo, Manchester, UK on 24/1/18

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We’re 8 years on from Steel Panther’s debut album Feel the Steel, and we’re at the Manchester Apollo to find out if the joke has run its course.

Wayward Sons are first to take to the stage. It’s hard to believe they played their first gig together little over 6 months ago, as the chemistry between the band is evident from the start. Of course, they’re all experienced performers being members of a fair few bands previously -most notably ex-Little Angels frontman Toby Jepson. Were treated to a large percentage of debut album Ghosts of Yet to Come, and it’s almost played with the confidence that it’s greatest hits set not an album that was only released in September. The vocals of Jepson are excellent and the crashing Guitar solos by Sam Wood are note perfect. Bassist Nic Wastell seems lost in the music, even when he’s not providing back up vocals he can be seen singing along like he’s performing his favourite songs from the last 20 years, not the nerves of showcasing new material to a largely new audience. Something Wrong was dedicated to the recently deceased Fast Eddie, bandmates with Jepson in Fastway, and the crowd seemed to enjoy the set more and more as it came to a close.

Boasting one of the finest vocalists in UK Rock, Inglorious are up next. Nathan James is well known in the UK through TV appearances on The Voice and Superstar, in his sparkling jacket and flamboyant movements he’s definitely a showman. Splitting their setlist equally between their two studio albums, Inglorious and Inglorious II, the band win over fans old and new in a relentless set that sees them barely pause between tracks. Set to play this summer’s Download Festival UK Main Stage, Inglorious are ready to scale new heights. Set highlights include single Holy Water and Until I Die.

In today’s politically correct world, where it seems like finding offence is a profession, it’s in some ways hard to believe Steel Panther are allowed to exist. If their studio albums aren’t offensive enough, their stage show is even worse – and this is a show rather than a gig. There is often large gaps between songs where band members poke fun at each other and members of the audience, which is often littered with bare-chested girls.

Some people feel like the gag has ran its course. Yes, if you have seen them before, you are likely to hear some of the same jokes. And I’m not sure anyone wants to see them try and release an experimental album. They stick to what they know and they do that very well.

Kicking off the night with by far their tamest song Eyes of a Panther, the night either goes up or downhill depending on your perspective. Going in the Back Door – Do I really need to explain? – and Feel the Steel favourite Asian Hooker set the tone for the rest of the evening.

Wasted Too Much Time and Poontang Boomerang feature from latest album Lower The Bar, before guitarist Satchel is given the chance to shine, performing riffs and solos from various rock songs gone by. He even manages to play the drums during some of this, in a genuinely impressive showcase of his skills.
Weenie Ride sees a girl picked from the crowd – by virtue of her being the first to flash her breasts – to be serenaded by frontman Michael Starr. More girls join the stage for 17 Girls in a Row. Also plucked from the crowd was a 17-year-old guy who was invited to take Satchels place on guitar, and he put on a performance that may well see him play this stage again in the future.

As the girls carry on dancing and groping the band through Glory Hole, you do almost take a step back and wonder whether this still has a place in 2018! But everyone here knows what they have signed up for if the content offends you or you think the joke has run dry there’s a simple solution – stay at home!
Heavy hitters Death to All But Metal, Community Property and Party All Day finish off the set. With sold out tours all around the world, Steel Panther are here to stay.



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