Steel Panther at the House of Blues in Chicago, IL

Steel Panther and Wilson join forces once again as the Sunset Strip Live! tour rolls into town for nothing but a good time.

These two acts are no strangers to sharing the stage, having toured together back in 2016. The boys from Detroit needed no introduction to this crowd, a portion of which had come specifically to see Wilson. The weekend started early at the House of Blues, as they kicked off the show with the high-energy “Dumptruck.” The majority of the 40-minute set comprised of songs from their current album, Tasty Nasty with a select few from yesteryear thrown in. The crowd were more than fired up by the set and, to be honest, it is surprising to see these guys still taking the role of “show opener.” If ever there was a moment proving they had the audience behind them and raring to go, their cover of Chumbawumba’s “Tubthumping” was it and it had the whole of the Music Hall singing along.

It’s become a well-established tradition for Steel Panther to make a stop by the Chicago House of Blues every year in late November/early December – a Christmas tradition we can all get behind. One difference to the annual show this year,  however, was the absence of Lexxi Foxx on bass, who they say is in sex rehab. The real reason behind his absence, we may never know, but it has been confirmed he will be missing out on the entirety of the current tour. So for now, he is being replaced by Nikki Sixx-esque Spyder, the band’s “friend of over 30 years and backstage doorman.”

The Spandex-clad foursome took to the stage and proceeded to entertain the audience with their own unique mix of music and risqué humor. The show is certainly not for the easily offended, but the filthy humor is so much a part of the band’s persona, it’s a huge part of what draws the crowds in to see them. There were a number of times throughout the night you would see member’s of the crowd wince at the jokes and banter between the bandmates, but it was all taken in good jest. 

Whilst Steel Panther are known for the hair metal bravado and comedic elements throughout their set, labelling them as just a novelty act does them a huge injustice. They are a band of extremely talented musicians.  Satchel is a great example of this, one minute he is pulling off his perfected glam metal guitar stance and pouting, and the next is pulling off some of the most intricate and melodic guitar riffs imaginable. Although his jokes throughout the night continuously garner laughter, his riffs and solos spotlight just what a talented musician he is. The same goes for Chicago’s own Michael Starr who, behind all the often spectacularly lewd and hilarious lyrics and hand gestures, has a powerful voice with impressive range. And lets not forget that Steel Panther are successfully selling albums of original music and touring good-sized theaters and venues (normally selling them out) off the back of it.

The set was jam-packed with innuendo and banter between bandmates – and during this show, a huge portion of that constituted of them ripping on Spyder as they warned him he better not mess it up. The set list was a little different than usual in that it included a large number of cover songs from the 80s hair metal bands they are paying homage to. The first cover of the night was Motley Crue’s “Shout At The Devil” and they also went on to cover Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train,” Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” and Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer.”

The atmosphere at these shows truly are second to none. It’s a night packed with smutty lyrics, inappropriate gestures and superb musicianship. What more could you want? The Chicago show marked the start of their Sunset Strip Live! tour, and while the Chicago show might be over, it’s fairly safe to say we’ll see them same place, same time next year (we hope!).

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About Kirstine Walton 383 Articles
Kirstine moved from the UK to Chicago in 2011, and has fallen in love with the city and its music scene. She enjoys combining her two biggest passions – music and photography. If there is a band with a guitar playing, chances are she’ll be there…camera in hand. Kirstine went to her first live concert at 7 years old, and hasn’t looked back since!

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