For Steel Panther fans, their audition on America’s Got Talent has felt like a fever dream. The seemingly out-of-nowhere appearance at the end of May had fans of both the show and the band asking many questions. The hugely popular show isn’t generally known for inviting well-established, well-known talent. So well known, in fact, that one of the judges quipped how her husband had hired the band for his 40th birthday in the past. Whether the appearance was more tactic or antic, the judges all voted “Yes” to send Michael Starr (Vocals), Satchel (Guitar), Spyder (Bass), and Stix (Drums) to the next round.
While it had only been four months since their last New York stop, Steel Panther rolled into Huntington, New York, with much new buzz. Many fans arrived early, enjoying a drink at the venue’s connected bar, where local band Stereomatic drew in a crowd on the bar’s stage. Soon, the doors opened, and fans began trickling into the Paramount, ready for a good time and full of curiosity. For longtime fans, would the appearance on AGT force the band to tone down their usual over-the-top act? And for curious newcomers, was this an act they could get into?
Before those questions could be answered, Florida’s trio Gunshine took to the stage to warm up the Long Island crowd. When Covid shut the world down, guitarist Austin Ingerman of New Year’s Day fame found himself off the road and, with time, turned his focus to a new project. Drummer James Renshaw and later vocalist Jordan Benson, a distant cousin of Elvis Presley, soon joined Ingerman. Together the three form a rock and roll band filled to the brim with blistering guitar solos, non-stop energy, and vocals that stick out from the pack.
The three came to the stage eager to kick off the first stop on the tour, blasting right into “90 Proof”. “Daylight” followed as the band quickly won over the growing crowd. The set was a welcome return to Rock and Roll glory days culminating with “Something Real” to close out the set. With New Year’s Day’s schedule cleared for the immediate future, Gunshine is prepped to spend the summer making heads bang as the opening act for Steel Panther before providing the perfect fit as Buckcherry’s opener later in the year for another tour.
Only a two-band bill tonight; the headliners were on next. With the now familiar roar of a wild cat blaring over the loudspeaker, the band pounced right into “Eyes of a Panther” as the dance floor drew more and more fans. After “Let Me Cum In,” the band took time to show off their comedic chops, effortlessly joking back and forth with each other and the fans. Between tracks like “Asian Hooker,” “All I Wanna Do Is Fuck (Myself Tonight), and “Death To All But Heavy Metal,” the band held no punches, making fun of their former bassist Lexxi Foxx, a fan dressed as a banana, and even their own equipment which seemed to be having slight issues throughout the night with their sound tech getting a hell of a workout throughout the set.
Suppose the banter and tracklist didn’t make it clear. In that case, all doubts the band would be staying true to their fans were put to bed when they invited a female fan on stage for “Impromptu Song For A Girl”, an acoustic array of improvisational tracks by each member of the band that led to suggesting the fan flash the crowd. The band continued to serenade the fan with “Girl From Oklahoma,” making sure to give her a backstage pass. More girls were called to the stage for “Community Property” before Steel Panther closed out their main set with “Party All Day (Fuck All Night).” After a short break, the band returned, joined by fellow glam-metal band Tragedy to close out the night with fan-favorite “Gloryhole.”
Is mainstream America ready for Steel Panther? Time will tell. Mark your calendars as live episodes of America’s Got Talent are set to begin airing on August 22nd, three days after Steel Panther wraps up another leg of their current tour in Las Vegas. In the meantime, rest assured that Steel Panther’s live tour continues to earn the proverbial golden buzzer in the eyes of every metal fan without abandoning what Steel Panther is all about.