Live Review : Slash + Steel Panther – Festival Hall, Melbourne – 26th February 2015

By Geoffrey D’Unienville
Slash – Festival Hall, Melbourne
Walking up to Festival Hall on a Thursday night it was clear from the sea of black t-shirts and pleather that people were here for a rock show.

It’s kind of hard to feel like you’re at a real rock show though, when its 7pm on a warm Melbourne night and still daylight outside, however this didn’t stop support act Steel Panther instantly whipping up the crowd into a frenzy.

Now if you’ve never heard of Steel Panther before, be warned, they’re an obscene, obnoxious and downright hilarious band of shall I say… Characters! This merry foursome have built their fame mocking glam-rock bands of yesteryear. Singing about being pussy whipped and Asian hookers, it’s hard to take lead singer Michael Starr seriously, but that seems to be exactly what they want from their audience.

Known for stopping shows midset when their “Fanthers” get a little bit excited, it’s expected that at multiple times in the show the band will bring fans up on stage who are willing to bare it all for 5 seconds of metal fame. That’s not to say this band is all about gimmicks though, guitarist Satchel and bassist Lexxi Foxx are clearly two extremely talented musicians who have the crowd eating up every single riff they throw at them. That is of course when Lexxi isn’t dual wielding his bass and a can of hairspray for touch ups.

These guys love to embrace metal stereotypes with Lexxi even playing a “Hair solo” in which the rest of the band stand around fanning his luscious locks with leaf blowers as he wailed on his guitar. Yeah that happened!

The clear highlight of the set was crowd favourite “Community Property”. Before a single chord is played Starr calls out for the audience to help them with the next song and almost instantaneously, the whole crowd bursts into the first verse with little support from the band. There’s something hilarious about seeing a rough metal crowd arm in arm, singing the words “If suddenly you were a guy, I’d be suddenly gayyyyyy”.

As the house lights dim, there’s a scuffle of Slash fans who worm their way closer and closer to the stage, they’re easily forgiven as everybody is clambering to get as close as they can to what can only be described as Rock Royalty.

As Myles and co hit the stage, the crowd roars but it’s the sight of Slash with his curly locks and signature top hat that have the audience erupt into a fit of cheers.

Playing a solid set of songs across all of his projects, Slash easily proves that he has the hits to back up all the hype. There’s little to no banter between songs, but this crowd doesn’t need it, they came here to witness epic guitar solos and they’re clearly not disappointed.

Props must be given to Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators who are clearly an extremely talented group, however, all eyes are fixed on that top hat and the mop of hair that are slamming through guitar solos song after song.

Playing a diverse catalogue including “Ghost” and what seemed like an epically long 20 minute solo in the middle of “Rocket Queen”, Slash really had the crowd eating out of his hands. When the opening riff for “Sweet Child of Mine” was finally let free towards the end of the set even the naysayers chilling at the back of the crowd were instantly, dare I say, losing their shit.

It didn’t end there though, the end of the set was clearly reserved for the “hits” with Slash and co backing it up with covers of both Velvet Revolvers “Slither” and returning for an encore of Zeppelins “Immigrant Song” which naturally had me screaming my AHHHH AAAH AHHHHS.

As the crowd got a little bit antsy thinking that was it, their faith was instantly redeemed when a full house of incredibly out of tune and by this stage, drunk rock enthusiasts got to fulfil their lifelong dream of singing “Paradise City” karaoke style.

Slash is clearly a well oiled machine and it’s also clear that there’s a strong chemistry between him and Myles but with the audience drowning out the talent onstage, it was at this stage I thought it best if I exited, stage left.

Artist: Slash
Venue: Festival Hall, Melbourne
Date: February 26, 2015