Steel Panther & Bowling For Soup - Manchester Arena (18th Oct 2016)

Steel Panther & Bowling For Soup – Manchester Arena (18th Oct 2016)

In what seems to be an annual trip to the UK for the boys in spandex, Steel Panther are back across the pond for more hair metal inspired catchy tunes and comedy but this time there is something different, that’s right, Steel Panther are headlining an arena. It sounds crazier the more you say it but the band have built their popularity up to such a point where an arena is the only thing that can hold all the 80’s throwbacks still lurking around the UK.

They are joined on the tour by pop punk revellers Bowling For Soup,who are arguably one of the best bands around for comedy value so this seems to be a perfect match. As they open the show the crowd are treated to nostalgia inducing songs such as “The Bitch Song”, “High School Never Ends” and “Almost” which are considered some of the band’s greatest hits as the crowd sing a long to each song of teenage angst, not getting the cheerleader and not growing up. Each song seems to have been amped up a beat as lead singer, Jaret Reddick wheezes into the microphone to tell the crowd his stamina isn’t quite what it was.

Reddick continues his banter with the crowd as he sarcastically introduces a new song “Hey Diane” taken from the newest release “Drunk Dynasty” as the time for the crowd to go fill up their drinks and empty their bladders, most taking his advice. Discussing the irony of your best known song being a cover of another band’s song the band get a laugh from the audience as they play early 2000’s pop punk one hit wonder “Stacy’s Mom”.

As the band continue to banter between each other as microphone problems cause Reddick to use bassist, Erik Chandler’s mic to which he claims to smell like it’s been up his anus, it’s not classy but it’s the humour you come to expect from this kind of show. The set is rounded off with pop punk party favourites “1985” and “Girl All the Bad Guys Want”, the similarities between the bands wit and that of Steel Panther’s shows why they were chosen to join them on tour, the crowd enjoyed themselves and as the house lights are turned up, a sea of spandex is enough to stretch all the way back to the 80’s.

As the time of the panther looms, the crowd are warmed up with KISS song “I Love It Loud” as the band appear on stage and take no prisoners with the amped up to 100 song “Eyes of a Panther” which included a synchronised bass and guitar choreography as lead singer, Michael Starr’s screeches over the microphone. The energy levels remain high as the tongue in cheek take on a sports legend song “Just Like Tiger Woods” has the crowd throwing their arms in the air as they smile at each cheeky lyric as it presents the golf superstar in a way I doubt he would appreciate.

The debauchery laden “Party Like It’s the End of the World” from their last studio album “All You Can Eat” keeps the party mood pumping and it seems this is going to be the mood for the rest of the night. A brief moment to catch your breath is given as the band begin to banter with each other on stage as lead guitarist, Satchel flexes his comedy muscles and shows he is the star of the show as he describes his lead singer as “the guy who packs my bags after the show” and being his employer, have the crowd in stitches as he also points out a child in the audience and how cool it was to see a kid enjoying their music before quickly lowering the tone with a reference to having sex with the kids mum.

With that intro the cultured song “Asian Hooker” which talks a lot about sushi as well as other well known cultural references hammers home the fact that this show is definitely not for kids. A break for the rest of the band midway through the set as Satchel lets his musical talent take centre stage with a face melting riff which included him playing the drums at the same time and essentially becoming a one man band.

An acoustic rendition of “She’s on the Rag” shows the band embracing the 21st century as drummer, Stix plays the flute using an app on his iPhone. For the first but certainly not the last time a random girl known as Chloe is brought up on stage as the band improvise love songs to her before serenading her with “Girl From Oklahoma”.

As the song suggests 17 (probably more) girls are brought on stage to dance and dry hump with the band as they play the braggadocious song “17 Girls in a Row” as the crowd get behind the thumping drums and sliding guitar lick, throwing devil horns up in the air. The girls stick around for “Gloryhole” a song that teaches the listener of the underbelly world and the band’s uncaring nature towards getting whatever they can from the fairer sex.

Arguably the song that would have introduced the band to many people in attendance “Death to All but Metal” is met with excitement as everyone devotes themselves to metal for one last time, as the band leaves for the cliched encore act of walking off stage before coming back on to play the sensitive and eloquent power ballad “Fat Girl” and Livin’ On a Prayer inspired party anthem “Party All Day” gets everyone throwing their fists into the air in unison, a devilishly catchy song which you can’t help but get taken over by.

The band have done an excellent job of getting themselves to the level of popularity that they’ve reached as the bare bones of the band is that they are a mock parody of an era of music that has long since disappeared from mainstream music. The fact that they are headlining an arena speaks volumes about how good they are at writing a catchy tune, how good they can play and how good they are at interacting with the audience in a way that’s humorous and endearing. The show itself was one you’ve probably seen before if you’ve been to a Steel Panther gig but it doesn’t make it any less fun and any less of an achievement for the band to get themselves to this stage.