Twas a chilly October night, and as I donned my thick coat and scarf and set out to catch the train to Brum, a great feeling of expectation filled me. This line up was cracking, and I had been looking forward to it all day. This was not a night for serious, heavy ‘metaaaaaaal!’. No. Tonight was a treat. Steel Panther, along with Bowling for Soup and Buck Cherry were playing. As I entered the Barcleycard Arena it was dark and cold, but the mood was high as I passed the hundreds of people who were well dressed for the occasion. Many a pair of tight leather and permed wig were noticed as I queued up to the bar for a drink before entering the standing area.
Buck Cherry were up first, and I have to admit I walked in mid-performance as it took me a while to find the venue (I am not a Birmingham veteran; being a small town Walsall gal, visits aren’t frequent). I have seen Buck Cherry before and their ten minute rendition of ‘Crazy Bitch’ was a familiar experience. They seemed to give a tired air, from what I saw, but maybe it is a little unfair to be so harsh, as the next act sort of blew them out of the water. Bowling for Soup were quite fantastic, and from the moment they walked on the stage they won the audience over with jokes, puns and banter. It was obvious that the guys were comfortable around each other, and that they had been together for a long time.
Belting out past hits such as ‘High School never ends’ and ‘Punk Rock 101’, punctuated with expertly timed comical pauses and little tricks with their instruments and plecks mid-performance, I was suddenly cast back to when I was in my late teens, early 20s and I was perfectly happy to wave back when Lead singer and guitarist Jarret Reddick told us they ‘were the only band out there that waved at its fans’. Asking if they remembered ‘Staceys Mom’, and to a massive cheer reminding us that contrary to popular belief, they did not originally do that song, Bowling for Soup then proceeded to do an amazing cover. Their time on stage went in the blink of an eye and by the end of the performance, the crowd was in very good spirit.
Steel Panther were another thing altogether. Entering stage in true 80s Rock Diva fashion, wind machine on full tilt and with very tight clothes and very big hair, the performance was high quality from the off, and playing songs such as ‘Party like Tomorrow is the end of the World’ with a ton of energy, I found myself in the mosh pit, giving my all (and losing my favourite scarf – I guess there could be worse ways to lose it). These guys also shared quips (and make up tips) with each other, and was even joined on stage by Jarret for a while. One of the stand out moments from the performance was when guitarist Russ took the stage for a little while, and gave us all a great solo show with the guitar and drums.
I have to say, Steel Panther wouldn’t have been the number one choice for me to go and see, though. I usually like my gigs a little more serious, and I go for the flannel shirts rather than the lycra leotards… but I did find myself enjoying myself at this gig. The atmostphere was wonderful, the mosh pit was accomodating; if you fell (which I did myself), you got picked straight back up promptly, and led away from the chaos to catch your breath. It was a great night, and more than a few of the audience left the venue with a smile on their face.