Radio station 98.9 the Rock’s holiday concert at the Midland theater on Thursday was named Twisted Christmas, but the event more closely resembled a Halloween party.
Many members of the capacity audience of about 3,000 wore costumes associated with the glam metal scene of the 1980s. Women wore short skirts and extra makeup. Many men sported teased hair — both real and fake —held in place by bandanas.
The four men in Steel Panther, the evening’s main attraction, wore spandex and brandished enormous hairstyles. The Los Angeles-based band parodies acts like Mötley Crüe in the same way that Spinal Tap mocked rock bands including Status Quo. The quartet’s outlandish performance succeeded as both a comedy show and as a rock concert.
Steel Panther honed its act during weekly performances at the trendy Viper Room in Los Angeles a decade ago. The band’s fourth album is slated for release in a few months.
The cartoonish excesses of glam metal are ripe for parody, and the constant well-aimed gags during Steel Panther’s hour-and-40-minute concert hit their marks.
Vocalist Michael Starr feigned astonishment at the supposedly blazing solos of guitarist Satchel. Bassist Lexxi Foxxx played the role of a doltish fop who preened at a stage-side mirror during breaks. Drummer Stix Zadinia served as a straight man for his bandmates’ lewd banter.
Most of the band’s outrageously vulgar songs are craven boasts of sexual prowess. “Just Like Tiger Woods” celebrates reckless philandering, while “Tomorrow Night” is an ode to self-gratification.
The audience ate it up.
A 10-year-old boy with a sign that read “I challenge Satchel to a guitar solo” was invited to the stage to show off his skills. The boy’s reading of Eddie Van Halen’s solo “Eruption” was so impressive that the band kept him on stage for Van Halen’s version of “You Really Got Me.” More than a dozen fearless women later joined the band on stage to dance during renditions of “Party All Day ” and “17 Girls in a Row.”
“Community Property,” an amusing send-up of a wretched power ballad, served as a hearty sing-along. The song “Death To All But Metal” is little more than a series of juvenile insults directed at celebrities and musicians, but much of the audience responded as though it was a genuine rock anthem.
Surprisingly, Steel Panther’s flimsy premise never wore thin. The band may be a shallow farce, but its one-dimensional joke is truly hilarious.