STEEL PANTHER @ House of Blues – Chicago

December 20th, 2013

By Kat Corbo and Tammy Vega

Almost exactly one year after Steel Panther played their infamous Last Day on Earth show at House of Blues in Chicago, they came back for another round of rock n’ roll and laughter in the windy city. Hillbilly Herald more than warmed the crowd up: their heavy-hitting music combined with the performance from their frenzied, animalistic-like lead singer demanded the whole audience’s attention. Jimmy Herald ran, danced, and rocked his way back and forth across the stage, onto the speakers, and even into the crowd on more than one occasion. I finally saw why WXRX, a Rockford radio station, plays their music and raves so much about Hillbilly Herald: their catchy, rocking songs combined with such an intense frontman makes for a show you won’t soon forget. The songs are just as crazy as the singer; “Yellow Belly” started with heavy rock guitars and drums, turned into an anthem with everyone in the crowd singing “yell-oh bell-ay,” and then cleverly mixed in some strange, profane lyrics like “was she good in the sack?” while the hard rock beat was still going strong, making you question if they really just sang that funny line.

Steel panther was similar in the “they did just say that” aspect, but instead of cleverly slipping in one or two provocative lines, they played humorous songs like “Eatin’ Ain’t Cheatin” and “Glory Hole,” making it obvious that their show was one for fun, not to be taken too seriously. Walking into the House of Blues, passing by someone dressed as a penis and later standing next to three people dressed as the “shocker” it was certain that everyone in attendance was there for a good laugh. One of my favorite songs of the night, “Community Property,” mimicked popular love ballads heard throughout the 80s, making me feel like I had just time-traveled back 30 years. Actually, the entire show gave me that feeling, not just one song; Steel Panther would win, hands down, in any 80s Halloween costume contest. Oddly enough it did not feel forced or over the top, it just seemed natural coming from them.

Even though their music and performance simulated the 80s, people of all ages came to watch with the crowd containing an extensive mix of people from all walks of life. As silly as Steel Panther’s lyrics are, the group had the power to bring together a lot of different kinds of people and make them all smile alongside one another. Steel Panther spent nearly half of their show with witty banter between each other. At one point the guitarist, Satchel, said “Mike Star is one of the most beautiful men I’ve ever seen. When people tell Mike to go fuck himself he seriously considers it.” They even included the audience in their jokes with Mike saying he had seen the three hottest girls in the room, pointing to Tammy, her sister, and myself, and making a light shine on us. Immediately following the cheers, Satchel yelled “wait, no, turn the lights off, they looked better in the dark!” We were glad we got to be the butt of one of their jokes, laughing along with the audience at Satchel’s clever remark.

Later on we were brought on stage to dance with other girls during “17 Girls in a Row,” but Tammy and I took it as our opportunity to show off the sick air-guitar moves we had been practicing at her place all summer. Sure, some of the women had really hot moves, but we think our head-banging was just as good as any ass shaking done that night. We felt it was our duty to rock out on a stage where so many of our favorite bands have played. The night ended with us back in the crowd singing along to “Party All Day, Fuck All Night.” We left feeling like we had seen an outstanding concert and a comedy show all at the same time. So on top of the thrill we always get from seeing a live show, we were feeling giddy and bubbly from hearty dose of laughter we were just served.

Kat Corbo is currently a student at UW-Madison studying Communication Arts and Business. She recently stopped writing for her school's newspaper and moved to the On Stage Review in order to keep her artistic freedom and to be able to freely write and review anything that she felt passionate about. 99% of the time you can catch Kat wherever Red is (don’t be fooled, they WILL drive 6+ hours for a good live show!). They’re a one of a kind duo that hopes to inspire young people their age to see that rock n’ roll is alive and well!