Steel Panther visited Manchester’s famous M.E.N. Arena last night (18) October, bringing a throwback, glam rock spectacle of the very highest orders to town. Before the Californian band took to the stage though, it was time for another spectacular comedy-rock band: Bowling For Soup (7).
The Texans emerge to their traditional intro music: Here Comes Bowling For Soup and promise “the greatest rock show in the world!” Though the crowd are initially hesitant, they are quickly bought on side by a selection of some of the Soup’s biggest tunes making early debuts in the set-list including The Bitch Song and High School Never Ends. Between songs, frontman Jaret Reddick trades hilarious barbs with Chris Burney on guitar, mostly featuring punchlines about gigs. The band hit all their usual shtick set pieces; they’re “the band who waves,” the band who has a photo shoot on stage, the band who swap childish jokes in between pop punk anthems.
That set goes on to include their now iconic cover of Fountains of Wayne’s Stacey’s Mom, the tongue in cheek Punk Rock 101, the throwback pop appeal of 1985 and a rousing finale of Girl All The Bad Guys Want. It’s a set filled with classics mined from an amazing 20+ year career and performed totally flawlessly. Bowling For Soup have honed their live show to a tee over a prolific career which means that whilst you’ll never attend a bad Soup show, you’re not likely to attend a very surprising one either.
There’s a half hour break before Steel Panther (8) take to the stage, during which hair metal classics are blasted across the PA system. Once Panther take to the stage, it feels like all the crudest and wildest moments the lyrics to these songs describe have come to life and formed a glam rock tribute band.
They begin with Eyes Of A Panther from their debut album Feel The Steel. The 80s inspired anthem goes down perfectly, the entire near sold-out arena singing the relatively clean – for this band – falsetto lyrics back at the band. On stage, the band look exactly as they sound; all neon tiger striped tights and massive hair.
Next up the band blasts through a fantastic four tunes in a row: Just Like Tiger Woods, Party Like Tomorrow Is The End Of The World, and Turn Out The Lights – not to mention the delightfully offensive Asian Hooker. These songs showcase the greatest trick that Steel Panther ever pulled: disguising their horrifically un-PC lyrics inside incredibly catchy, well-crafted songs that demand to be sung along with.
The band take a pause to allow guitarist Satchel to shine with a solo that goes on ever so slightly too long but does include tributes to a number of classic rock riffs including Smoke On The Water, Breaking The Law, The Trooper, Master of Puppets, Crazy Train, Sweet Child O’ Mine and Iron Man which garners plenty of appreciation from the crowd.
Soon enough the full band return to the stage. At this point, the show kicks into upper gear and the Michael Starr fully embraces his ridiculous glam rock persona, telling the crowd that he’s spotted “a few kids in the audience” and that to cheer because “he was gonna f**k that kids mom on the tour bus tonight.. whilst the kid plays our Xbox!”
The final third of the set is dominated by a too-drawn-out version of “Girl From Oklahoma” where the band bring out a girl from the audience, Chloe, and croon their spectacularly honest lyrics to her face. Eventually she’s joined by a host of other women in the crowd for Seventeen Girls In A Row, who party on stage until the main set closes out with the ridiculously fun Death To All But Metal.
The show should have ended here; the gimmick of bringing on this many extra people to the stage makes the encore take a little too long to prepare and seeing the stage relatively bare again, with just the four members of the band on stage for a finishing duo of Fat Girl and Party All Night seeming slightly anti climatic in comparison to the insanity of moments before.
Overall both bands brought a barrel of riffs and laughs to the night – it was impossible to wipe the smiles off the faces of the punters as they left the Arena into the brisk Northern night.
Stay tuned for an exclusive photo gallery from Steel Panther’s night at Manchester Arena in the coming days! Further updates on both Steel Panther and Bowling For Soup will also follow as soon as we have any news.