Every once in a while, you need to turn it up to eleven. Steel Panther does just that, making what should be a nostalgia act feel like more than blast from the past. It would be wrong to call the four piece glam metal act a parody – their catalogue of music rivals what any of the “legends” of the genre have been putting out lately. Steel Panther takes the leggings, the hair, and the girls, and mix them with surprisingly tight guitar riffs and catchy hooks. Oh, and they’re absolutely hilarious. Between songs, banter usually ends up being about vaginas, tits, and blow jobs. The songs themselves, well, tend to carry the same subject matter.

Over the past few years, Steel Panther has evolved from Van Halen cover band to legitimate touring act. After years gaining a strong celebrity following by playing Los Angeles hot spots, they eventually broke into the mainstream. Their latest album, ‘Balls Out’, debuted at #40 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on the Billboard Comedy Chart. They have weekly shows (every Monday and Saturday) at the House of Blues in Hollywood and Las Vegas, respectively. They will have played New York City’s Irving Plaza three times over a six month span after their next show in July. This is not just a tribute, it’s a phenomenon.

Many in the crowd at Irving Plaza were decked out with flowing blonde wigs, matching zebra spandex pants, a cut up shirts. Girls got in on the game as well, wearing 80′s style cut offs and camel toe inducing leggings. Most shocking was just how hot many of these girls were, it was like they were dropped here from a some Bill and Ted movie. The band encouraged these girls to whip em out, rewarding them by pulling them on stage to show their tits to the crowd. The audience ate this up almost as much as the girls themselves, who returned to the crowd as giddy as school girls.

Steel Panther works because they are excellent at what they do. Their synchronized dance moves and heavy metal poses show a stage presence that has been built through years of constantly performing. There is a comfort on stage that many veteran bands don’t possess. They’re funny enough to be considered a comedy act, but their songs are good enough to hold up with the best 80′s classics. ‘Community Property’ sounds like a classic 80′s power ballad but with a chorus of ‘My heart belongs to you/But my cock is community property’. Nearly every song is infectiously catchy with lyrics that incite audible laughter from the crowd.

There is a reason that people come to see Steel Panther week after week and month after month. The glam metal genre has not aged well, many young people look at Motley Crue and Twisted Sister as ancient relics of music history, but their music is still listened to and respected. Steel Panther perfectly threads the line of taking itself seriously enough to respect the integrity of the music, but not too serious that the audience doesn’t feel in on the joke too. They create a hair metal paradise where fans can (literally) let their hair down and enjoy the music, without feeling like they are seeing aging rock stars perform a nostalgia act. In creating a parody or a tribute band, Steel Panther inadvertently created a monster that, had they been around twenty years earlier, would have taken over the world.

-Justin Charles