By Alma Reed
Written by Wes Lytz
Heavy metal and hijinks decimate Nashville. Wilson and Steel Panther bring ribaldry to Nashville’s Marathon Music Works Saturday night.
Wilson goes up first, and although I’m not familiar with their work, I think I have a good idea what to expect. Let’s examine the evidence. First, they’re providing direct support to Steel Panther. Second, their band logo is gigantic glow in the dark skeleton hands forming the Wu-Tang hand sign with middle fingers fully extended. Third, song titles in their catalog include House of Fuckery, Tasty Nasty and College Gangbang. Fourth, the lead singer resembles Dane Cook both in manner and appearance.
I don’t know if comedy metal is a music genre, but if it is, Wilson delivers and we’re not disappointed. The performance is high energy. The content is tacky and kitschy, and not for those who are easily offended. It’s also light-hearted and pretty hysterical. Wilson probably won’t be getting nominated for any Grammys anytime soon, but that’s not the point. The focus here is on being loud, brash and silly. Bonus points awarded to frontman Chad Nicefield for his agility in evading the few beer cans and water bottles hurled his way by a few douchebag audience members.
For those not in the know, Steel Panther is an 80s glam metal throwback band who take the 80s sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll ethos to the next level, at least ostensibly. Everything about their purported lifestyle from the drug use to promiscuity is exaggerated to gargantuan proportions. With song titles like Poontang Boomerang, (But My Cock Is) Community Property and Eatin’ ain’t Cheatin,’ I think you get the gist. Their songs are modern dirty limericks set to 80s hair metal music. Steel Panther’s over-the-top vulgarity and extravagant garishness provides a refreshing reprieve from the anodyne and politically correct facade of civilised daily life.
Their stage presence is awesome. It projects to the back of the room as easily as it does to the front row. Never a dull moment, the theatrical and comedic components to their performance are on full blast throughout the show. Highlights are too numerous to mention all of them. Singer Michael Starr left the stage momentarily only to re-emerge as a spot-on (and maybe not-so-complimentary) caricature of a present day Ozzy Osbourne. The band proceeded to perform a killer version of Crazy Train. Later, the band invited several female concert goers onstage as they performed their classic 17 Girls In A Row and Glory Hole Club LA. Guitarist Satchel reports “I know we’re a long, long way from the ocean, but it smells like a fisherman’s wharf up here.”
Attending a Steel Panther concert is a lot like going to a theme party. This party’s theme is, not surprisingly, 80s glam/hair rock and several of the party goers went all out to look the part. So before you go, don’t forget to top off your supply of leopard print spandex, fishnet stockings and headbands.