The Rise of the Panther

A hair metal band singing songs about gloryholes.  If you were asked, you probably wouldn’t pinpoint that as the kind of band who could headline Wembley Arena.  Yet, somehow this last weekend saw that happen, as Steel Panther continued their remarkable rise to the top of the rock and roll food chain.  Yet how have they done it?  How have a band, that on first glance are little more than an elaborate joke, achieved so much?

Answer number one is incredibly simple.  They are just that damn good.  Steel Panther really did grow up loving the bands they ape.  There are huge dollops of Motley CrueGuns ‘N’ Roses and Bon Jovi in there and yet at some point they got better than most of those bands.  They became bloody brilliant musicians and if you’ve ever seen a Steel Panther show you’ll know they are one of the tightest bands around.  There isn’t a band playing that style of music that are as good in 2015, that are as good as Steel Panther.

Yet it doesn’t stop there.  Because, they also write great songs.  Tracks like ‘Party Like Tomorrow Is the End of the World‘ are not only ridiculous, but they are also really good fun.  They have big guitars and even bigger choruses and every time you see them live, the crowd matches the band word for word.  Sure, the lyrics are as vulgar as they come.  But strip that away and underneath it you still have a fantastic rock and roll track, it’s hard to argue with that kind of thing.

There’s also the fact that those vulgar lyrics are pretty damn funny.  I’m sure there are people out there who find Steel Panther offensive and they are perfectly entitled to do so, but the truth is I find them hilarious more often than not.  It’s so over the top and so overtly sexual that unless you are the most poe faced individual on the planet, you can’t help but realise Steel Panther are just having fun.  Sure, it’s never going to win awards for it’s progressive outlook, but if you are wasting your time taking ‘Gangbang at the Old Folks Home’ seriously, then you need to take a look out the window, because there is a whole world of stuff you should be gunning for before turning your sights on such a ridiculous song.

When Steel Panther first broke, I don’t think I was alone in suspecting they would be a one album act.  They’d grab all the attention for a year or so, before disappearing back to the dive bars that their music seemed destined for.  Yet, I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Three albums in, Steel Panther are going strong and it really doesn’t look like stopping anytime soon.  They have all the ingredients of a fantastic rock band and while they are never likely to invade Radio 1, it doesn’t seem to be having a negative effect on their rise to the top.  If things don’t change soon, we might find the new headliner that we have all been crying out for comes from a band making a pastiche of the old and as things stand, you can’t help but feel they deserve it.

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