It was Saint Patrick’s Day in the quiet, unsuspecting town of Glenside, Pennsylvania. From the outside, The Keswick Theatre appeared to be a charming older venue, but once its doors opened… mayhem erupted. The traveling circus known as Steel Panther’s ‘On The Prowl World Tour’ had arrived.
The evening’s festivities began in seventies style with New York City’s Tragedy: the self-proclaimed ‘All-Metal Tribute to the Bee Gees and Beyond.’ Exactly as advertised and musically gifted (How difficult must it be to deconstruct classic pop songs and reconstruct them as eighties-flavored metal compositions?), their stage appearance evoked a seedy disco. With characters such as Mo’Royce and Disco Mountain Man, the band looked like the Village People from Hell and performed a way-too-short, but rousing set of familiar classics including “You’re The One That I Want” and Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” complete with audience participation. Tragedy left the crowd yearning for more.
Warning: you will become addicted the first time you experience Tragedy, hopefully, as a headliner.
During the early eighties, when Public Image Limited performed behind a curtain at The Ritz in NYC a riot broke out. Crobot, however, should have performed behind a sheet. It would have prevented the unintended comical display that began with a ho-hum mad scientist introduction. Crobot are a gritty groove rock group that sounds great on record and on the radio. Visually, however, they were nauseating. Although the band’s musicians wore street clothes and sported full beards, singer Brandon Yeagley pranced around in an open silver shirt and skintight gold lame pants that left little to the imagination. This hard rock band with a frontman who wanted to be equal parts Bruno Mars and James brown was akin to a miscast actor in an otherwise great film. The visual and stage antics were a painful distraction from what might have been an enjoyable set. Instead, the audience was treated to a spectacle that left many in the crowd simply groaning.
The headline performance was certainly not meant for kids and could have been rated NC-17. Yet, there were a few preteens with their parents present. Sign those kids up for therapy now! Following a hysterical intro hymn, Steel Panther roared into “Eye of the Tiger” and sounded as clear and tight as the original recording, which was until vocalist Michael Starr let out a scream that proved why he continues to be one of the best vocalists in music today. Then the stage banter began, which was as equally entertaining as the set list.
Although not verified by any medical professionals, Starr stated, “People who love heavy metal never get cancer!” Then, underrated guitar God Satchel, took over the microphone. “I’d like to introduce a legendary heavy metal singer, who inspired hundreds of thousands of kids to drop out of the six grade and just fuck hookers all day. Unfortunately, Vince Neil is not here tonight.”
Satchel later took out a moment to address the recent attack on Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen outside a Florida hotel room: “We would like to send our condolences to Rick Allen’s Family [Rick is actually fine] and we would also like to pay tribute to him right now.” Drummer Stix Zadinia then stuck his left arm in his shirt and the band played an instrumental version of Def Leppard’s “Photograph.”
Satchel then continued, “If you’re not clapping, you better be Rick Allen.” New bassist Spyder added, “Rick Allen doesn’t want to get left out.” Starr jumped in, “He’s just all right.” Finally, Satchel concluded, “You had me stumped on that one.”
Ok, so the humor was often tasteless and lowbrow, but everyone knew what awaited them on this night.
An amazing set list that could not possibly fit in all of the band’s most popular songs became an audience sing-a-long, with every pejorative term chanted in anthemic fashion, from “Asian Hooker” through the band’s signature “Death to All but Metal,” arguably the night’s highlight.
Steel Panther concluded with a pair of encores, “Community Property” and “Glory Hole” giving the crowd their money’s worth. It was a night of potent, full-bodied entertainment. A comedy show or a metal performance – whatever you want to call it – if it was not the most fun audience members ever had at rock concert, it certainly was among the best. A truly memorable night that the assembled masses would not soon forget.