LIVE PHOTOS: Steel Panther, Crobot, Tragedy
By Greg Maki
It’s always a party when Steel Panther comes to town—even on a cold Tuesday night in Baltimore. Supporting its recently released sixth studio album, “On the Prowl,” the ‘80s metal parody act delighted a close-to-capacity crowd with a set that was as much about the band members’ between-song banter as the music.
The band has a different look onstage now, a little less glam with the dark-haired rocker Spyder replacing the preening, blonde Lexxi Foxx on bass. As always, frontman Michael Starr and guitarist Satchel carried the show, both with their performances and seemingly endless stream of one-liners. An older, bearded man in the audience somewhat resembling ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons caught Satchel’s attention in particular, providing fodder for jokes throughout the set and even led to a partial cover of the ZZ Top classic “La Grange.” Another recurring topic was a younger man in the audience with a sign asking to sing “Party All Day,” which somehow worked and he ended up onstage, performing with the band as the first part of the set drew to a close.
Songs from five of Steel Panther’s six records found their way into the set list, including six from the 2009 debut “Feel the Steel”—a modern classic if you ask me—but only three from “On the Prowl.” Deep cut “The Burden of Being Wonderful” from 2014’s “All You Can Eat” was an unexpected and interesting choice—something I wish more bands would do. Starr strummed an acoustic guitar for the surprisingly reflective “Ain’t Dead Yet,” leading to the similarly unplugged staple “Girl from Oklahoma,” featuring Starr serenading a fan onstage. He then invited all of the women in the audience to join them as the party picked back up with “Never Too Late” and “Party All Day.” Two more Steel Panther standards—“Community Property” and “Gloryhole”—made up the encore.
STEEL PANTHER SET LIST: “Eyes of a Panther,” “Let Me Cum In,” “Asian Hooker,” “All I Wanna Do Is Fuck (Myself Tonight),” “The Burden of Being Wonderful,” “Party Like Tomorrow Is the End of the World,” Satchel guitar solo, “Death to All but Metal,” “1987,” “Ain’t Dead Yet,” “Girl from Oklahoma,” “Never Too Late (to Get Some Pussy Tonight),” “Party All Day (Fuck All Night),” (encore) “Community Property,” “Gloryhole”
If Steel Panther offers a unique mix of music and comedy, Tragedy’s concoction of disco, hair metal and thrash metal is just as original. Where else can you hear a mashup of The Weather Girls’ “It’s Raining Men” and “Raining Blood” by Slayer? Whether you actually want to hear that is another matter, but you at least have to give Tragedy points for creativity.
Billing itself as the “All Metal Tribute to the Bee Gees & Beyond,” the band powered through a 30-minute set featuring full throttle renditions of such well-known songs as Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” and the Bee Gees’ “Tragedy” (naturally) and “Stayin’ Alive.” I don’t know if I would ever sit down and listen to an entire record of this or want to take in a performance that lasted any longer, but I’m glad to have experienced Tragedy at least once.
TRAGEDY SET LIST: “Tragedy,” “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (a Man After Midnight),” “Sweet Caroline,” “It’s Raining Men,” “You’re the One That I Want,” “How Deep Is Your Love?,” “Stayin’ Alive”
Direct support came from Crobot, which, as frontman Brandon Yeagley noted, is from nearby Pennsylvania and no stranger to the Baltimore area. The set began with Yeagley wheeled out in an electric chair, appropriately leading into the opening track “Electrified.” And that’s a great way to describe the Crobot’s performance—electrifying, full of energy as the band blasted through 40 minutes of down and dirty, no frills hard rock. Chris Bishop was an absolute stud on the guitar with grooving riffs and searing solos—and he’s got the Cinderella guitar flip around the neck down perfectly to boot.
Highlights of the set included “Livin’ on the Streets” with its shout-along chorus; the Soundgarden-inspired current single “Golden;” and “Low Life,” a hit single from the band’s 2019 “Motherbrain” LP. For years, I’ve watched Crobot tear it up in opening slots and at festivals, but I’ve never seen a headline show—something that desperately needs to change.
CROBOT SET LIST: “Electrified,” “Dizzy,” “Livin’ on the Streets,” “Golden,” “The Necromancer,” “Holy Ghost,” “Drown,” “Gasoline,” “Low Life,” “Without Wings”
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