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  STEEL PANTHER
Las Vegas vs London 2011

Tina Saul

tina saul



Ever wondered what the difference is between a Steel Panther show at their residency in Las Vegas and a one-off show in London? It's like genital warts vs Hogwarts, according to Michael Starr. I much prefer being a fictional character than an STD, so thanks Michael.

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My comparison starts with price, with the Vegas show being free entry and the London show setting you back over 20 quid. When you factor in the various fees you now have to pay, you'd imagine that Vegas would be packed and London not so, but it's the complete opposite.

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I caught up with Lexxi and Stix while over in the US and you can listen by clicking here as to why they prefer playing outside of LA or Vegas. They have been playing over there for years as Metal Skool, a comedy covers band with special guests appearing regularly, but over two years ago they 'rebranded' as Steel Panther. These days they're still a comedy act, but with their own comedy material to add to the mix.

You would have thought that during this time, the Vegas/LA crowd would let them shake off their Metal Skool past, but that's not the case. At Green Valley Ranch, a casino resort in Henderson set in the deep shadows of the Las Vegas strip, the meagre crowd are only happy when they're playing covers and don't take too kindly to any of the 'Feel The Steel' material, and certainly not tracks from their new album. 'Balls Out'. But give them some Motley Crue or Van Halen and they're quite content, singing and dancing along. And plenty of the freeloaders made a beeline for the exit when the comedy took a crass turn.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and a few thousand miles to a damp winter night in London, and it couldn't be more different. This show sold out in less than eight minutes months ago, and the pubs surrounding the Electric Ballroom in Camden are full of Panther fans. Considering it's a Tuesday night, the party spirit is evident.

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As we walked into the venue, I looked at the bewildered bar staff trying to figure out how to serve everyone by the end of the night, let alone by the beginning of the show, and that was my first glimpse of the audience. Wow, what a diverse bunch of people, which wasn't conducive to the best atmosphere, as there were quite a few people who wouldn't traditionally be at a rock gig and the venue was definitely over-capacity.

The opening monologue of their new album 'Balls Out' played, the crowd cheered loudly and as they launched into 'Supersonic Sex Machine' it was hard to believe the album had only been out for a few days. Even friends of mine who hadn't heard it were singing along.

But sadly, sound issues hit and the PA kept cutting out, which frustrated the crowd and it was annoying not to hear their new single 'Do You Really Really Love Me?' because of it.

This didn't deter the fans or band, and it wasn't long until the sound was restored. Soon it was Satchel's time to shine with his guitar solo, which I've seen many a time so decided I'd pop outside for some fresh air and escape the crowd for a bit. Looked like vocalist Michael Starr thought the same, but I don't think he was expecting to be bombarded en masse, judging by the look on his face! He had no security with him and everyone wanted a photo and chat. They seemed to forget, however, that he was in the middle of a show and he soon escaped the grips of his adoring fans and retreated back to the safety of the stage. Looking terrified, I might add.

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The show continued and the jokes were refreshed from the last time they hit the UK scene and were not as crass as the ones I heard in the US. The set comprised of the entire new album and a few from 'Feel The Steel', but no covers. An odd setlist for a band who've escaped our shores for a while, and the venue should definitely have been bigger to accommodate the amount of people who were there or would have liked to have been there.

So in comparison... Vegas was a cracking show, but the low audience attendance dampened the spirits, and the jokes were a little bit below the 'Balls Out' region. London had the crowd, but was it the right crowd in the right venue? Plus the big thing missing from both was the lack of special guests, which we've all become a little accustomed to with these boys. There was plenty of opportunity at both shows given Las Vegas has stars on tap on a Saturday night, especially with Priest in town the following evening, likewise with them playing London on the eve of the Classic Rock Awards.

That aside, as special guests aren't what makes the show for me, I wish I'd had a mashup of both gigs to make it perfect. But whichever side of the pond you're on, Steel Panther rock it and it's a great night out.

So the final verdict of who wins? There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that LONDON is the victor. Yes, there were sound issues. Yes, they played their entire new album. Yes, the crowd was a little odd. But at least they were there. Music cannot survive without people getting off their butts and going to shows to keep our Metal ecosystem turning. Let's face it, if not, we'll all be subjected to a life of X Factor hell.

London, I salute you \m/

steelpanthertina

18.11.11





WACKEN WINTER NIGHTS IS HEAVY METAL WONDERLAND

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.

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Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.



Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.

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MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.

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Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.

WACKEN 2018 TRAVEL PACKAGE ENQUIRY

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