As Melbourne connoisseurs of rock will attest to, a visit from Steel Panther is always a welcome highlight of every year they cum come down under to share their seed semen sound, yes that’s it, with willing recipients.
As always, the colourful crowd is out in force including several lovely young ladies sporting their attributes in little more than fishnet drapery. No prizes for guessing how cold it actually was in Melbourne due to the breasts bearing sufficiently accurate temperature indicator devices for all to admire. I sincerely hope nobody lost an eye. But nipple measures and areola atmospheric indicators aside, we know Steel Panther will give us one hell of a ride. A brief catch up with the lads in the afternoon certainly set my mind at ease that Steep Panther were ready to fire on all cylinders, but tonight’s performance carries a significance beyond the might of our globally revered pussy pounding protagonists. Steel panther has brought along to our fair shores a most exciting addition indeed. None other than the mighty Black Stone Cherry.
The news months ago of Black Stone Cherry coming to Australia after 15 years had a significant effect on me personally, to the extent that I had my reservations. To clarify this remark, I would simply ask readers to consider that my excitement had reached such heights that I actually was fearful of disappointment. Having enjoyed their heavy rock prowess for a significant time and simply loving their quite unique bluegrass edge, my exhilaration in anticipation of tonight was beyond reasonable. I reflected on a pre-tour interview with John Fred Young and considered yet again at the marvelous Kentucky nature of he and his kin folk in the band, wondering how such truly genuine and kind natured people could possibly be of a stage presence and ilk to enhance the might of their music.
Having the early opportunity to review their most recent offering in Kentucky, the album and, quite forthrightly the soul of the state too, I was of the firm belief that this benchmark achievement had released their souls from the confines of commercialism, and their performance tonight was to be in that same vein.
But I remained in doubt as to what I would see. It was always going to be sensational to see this band live for the first time, but events and circumstances culminating in the astonishing Kentucky weighed heavy on my anticipation.
I check in with my pal Dennis Huff from KOMP radio Las Vegas, connoisseur, of all things rock, who puts my mind at ease that I would be in for something very special indeed. That simply added to the excitement. Fuck, what’s wrong with me?
The time arrives to meet the guys and sit down to some interview time, despite the days pressing schedule. So much to do and so little time, yet Black Stone Cherry were determined to make everything work in accommodating neighborly Kentucky style. Yeah, I know right? Yet more hard rockers with hearts of gold. And as you will glean from the interview below with Chris Robertson and Ben Wells, we are talking some genuine, forthright and damn fine folk. Please rest assured that John Fred Young and Jon Lawhon are equally exceptional gentlemen that make meeting them a genuine privilege. I am quite certain that these fantastic people would not realise it, however, we are tremendously grateful for their kindness and generosity toward our children. The tremendous effect they have had on our sons will travel with them the rest of their lives.
So with some further background information covered regarding the group and their works, it’s on to the show. The guys appear, still making time to stop greet us first, before taking to the stage. Now I’m worried.
How can these modest, and movingly exceptional people possibly turn the hearts and minds of the waiting Steel Panther faithful? Then, Black Stone Cherry open the proceedings with such furious rock force and vigorous stage presence that I’ll wager none present will ever forget. My breath quite literally taken away. A sensational set list representative of their commitment to musical superiority over fifteen years, but their stage performance was so far beyond anything I could have possibly conceived, I remain blissfully dumfounded. John Fred pounded the piss out of a tormented drum kit with such raw ferocity and skill that I remain astounded it survived. Ben jumped, moshed, kicked, bounded, bounced and threw the crowd into a thrilled frenzy of excitement, all while playing the guitar with such astounding precision that my gob was on the floor for the first three tracks. Blistering bass lines and stage celebration from Jon was thunderously sensational, providing the perfect rhythmic groove throughout each and every track. And out front leading the way vocally was Chris. I have only one thing to say about his performance vocally and musically. That is simply that I only now understand what John Fred’s description of Chris as a ‘beast’ actually means. It was my foolish presumption that in had an understanding of this brilliant groups sound when spinning Kentucky with the volume on eleven. I have never been more pleased to say that I was wrong and will be forever declaring in blissful reminiscence that ‘you haven’t heard Black Stone Cherry until you have been to a live show’. Thank you guys because you have redefined the term ‘blown away’ for me forever. The live show, right down to an homage to the mighty Motorhead, was so far beyond all that I could have hoped to see and hear, that it is my fervent intention to make clear to all who love a genuinely energetic and overwhelming rock performance, you MUST see Black Stone Cherry live. And as for the crowd? I have never before witnessed a group of people turned from crossed armed skeptics to shrieking, hooting, howling, horn throwing, admirers in one support set. There was a good number of Black Stone Cherry fans to begin with, but an entire crowd of Black Stone Cherry fans left the building at show finale. I am certain all now can’t wait to see their return to Melbourne very, very soon.
Thankfully there was sufficient break from Black Stone Cherry to recover sufficient energy to honor Steel Panther. After bearing witness to many Steel Panther concerts, the undeniable truth is that I cannot get the grin off my face the entire time. From Asian Hookers played and displayed, to our shredding metal guitar specialist Satchel being beaten close to death with a massive inflatable cock. From inflatable ladies to the real thing paraded willingly for our amusement to the bare-breasted offerings of crowd members aloft shoulders, Steel Panther and their show never, ever disappoint. Their musical might be only equalled by their unique approach to celebration of the magical glam metal years, made manifest for our enjoyment in the present. Stix chats with me pre-tour should you wish to enjoy a cackle.
Their show is nothing short of sensational musically but the entire ‘package’ always delights. Seriously, who wouldn’t want a Steel Panther show every week. I was a little disheartened to see that Festival Hall did not reach full capacity to welcome our beloved Steel Panther, and I’m quite certain many will be sorry they missed this show. Outstanding as always and so much fun. Lexxi, your hair is as fine as ever. Thank you for bringing it along. And thank you Steel Panther for coming down-under to us again. I’m sincerely sorry we didn’t turn out in the numbers you deserve.