A dingy night in Soho is about to get a whole lot rowdier with a secret acoustic show from hair metal’s sleaze leaders Steel Panther (7).
The comedy band’s two primary icons Michael Starr and Satchel take to the Crobar stage with every atom of their usual spicy personalities – adult jokes are hurled across the tiny bar within seconds of their arrival. Promising an evening of intimacy and an array of acoustic renditions of otherwise riff-filled anthems, Steel Panther deliver but leave a lot to be desired in terms of their usual electric atmosphere. At first joined on stage by handsome new member Axel on percussion – banana-shaped maracas and miniature tambourine to be precise – it appears size really does matter as it’s not long before Starr swiftly ‘fires’ the newcomer.
Somehow their usual energetic material sounds eerily appropriate in acoustic form – Girl From Oklahoma sounds almost heartfelt and Just Like Tiger Woods takes on a new intensity, but sadly blockbuster Community Property hits a few bum notes. The world live premiere of Poontang Boomerang isn’t lost on the crowd which has clearly had their new track on repeat since its release 5 days prior – hopefully not on a certain adult site on which it was debuted. Satchel is every bit the acoustic professional while Michael Starr coerces the crowd into chants, however audience requests are given brief acoustic snippets which makes the evening’s proceedings feel rather flippant.
Despite Satchel quickly realising he’ll be spending most of their hour-long set retuning his acoustic, Starr steps up with his trademark brand of risqué stage banter. Despite incessant pressure from the two stars, fans do not comply with the Steel Panther flashing traditions, but the intimate setting allows for girls to hop on stage regardless which certainly doesn’t help the awkward silence in the room between songs. Debauchery is to be expected from a Steel Panther show regardless of setting, but it’s clear the Crobar’s proximity only fuels the immaturity. One of these days they’ll drop the perverted act, but that day is definitely not today.
Steel Panther’s Valentine’s Hangover leaves no genuine headaches but fleeting reminders that there are talented artists under the racy exterior, easily drawn to the surface with an acoustic guitar and tiny tambourines. With a full band return to the UK in just a few months at Download 2017, hopefully a return to the peak of their powers will also occur.