Steel Panther are a band known for their live shows. They are known for their crazy lyrics and their insane stage show. They are known for giving the audience a night straight out of 1987 at one of their hilarious and jaw-dropping stage spectacles. When i found out that they would be back in NYC, I jumped at the chance to shoot them for the third time. On April 23, I got that chance.
The brought along Hillbilly Herald to open for them. I got there when they were already through their first song, which only gave me 2, poorly lit songs to shoot.
Shortly after 9 pm, purple light filled the NYC stage. After a voice over intro, guitarist Satchel, drummer Stix Zadinia, bassist Lexxi Foxx and lead singer Michael Starr took the stage and the audience exploded. After a round of smiles and a few "devil horn" hand gestures, they launched into their signature song, Supersonic Sex Machine. In that moment, the Spread The Disease Tour was off and running. You're not at a Steel Panther show if you don't have a sense of humor, and that cheer was caught by the crowd as they sang along to every word. Tomorrow Night was up next, and it is probably one of my favorite songs by them.
Their set is filled with songs that seem to both make fun of and play homage to the 80s. You watch them and it is hard to not laugh along with them. They clearly don't take themselves too seriously, so how can you? In between songs the band jokes around with each other, and with those in front of the stage. They will point out girls they want to sleep with, and apologize to the boyfriends of those girls for what they are going to do to them later. Like I said, don't come to one of their shows if you're up tight.
From a photographers point of view, Steel Panther are a dream to shoot. The lighting is always gorgeous and the band hams it up for the photographers. The very first time I shot them, Starr pulled me on stage and I shot the whole set from there. They are really playing the part of 80s rockstars, and they want the pictures to show that.
They came to NYC and everyone in that packed Irving Plaza had an incredible night. For some of the audience, it was a reminder of a time when they were younger. For others, it was a glimpse of a time they were too young to see first hand. In the end though, when you are singing along to lyrics about sex and debauchery, it really doesn't matter.