In the world of heavy metal, only one band besides Black Sabbath has had an equally massive and lasting impression on the generations that followed. That band was and continues to be Judas Priest. Iconic for its introduction of leather S&M garb to the metal genre, and aside from a small hiatus in the mid '90s, Judas Priest has been a metal institution for five decades since its humble beginnings in Birmingham in 1969.
After distancing themselves from the early hippie leanings of many British metal acts of the time, Judas Priest -- or simply Priest as their fans are fond of chanting -- has gone on to deliver a remarkable recorded legacy and memorable live shows. While it's never enjoyed mainstream success like other metal acts, the band's 1980 single "Breaking the Law" is one of the enduring anthems of the genre.
Add to their metal mythos the incomparable self-parodying contemporary '80s glam metal band Steel Panther at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, and you've got the recipe for a successful evening of metal firmly in place.
When I got in and settled in my seat, Steel Panther was halfway through its over-sexualized Weird Al on meth song, "Just Like Tiger Woods," which had the crowd singing along. For the uninitiated, Steel Panther is an '80s-inspired glam metal band that is equal parts metal music and glam metal cabaret. If one can remember the effeminate get-ups of your Poisons and Warrants, you can visualize the look.
But that part's easy, the best of the band comes in the form of in-between song banter and the self-aggrandizing, overtly-macho lyricism of the songs themselves. Even its pantomimes during the songs are spot on, like guitarist Satchel showing a pretty good swing during the Tiger Woods ribbing.
Like all good rock bands, the butt of all jokes is the bass player and poor Lexxi Foxx with his pretty princess in the spotlight looks plays the foil well whenever Satchel and singer Michael Starr jabbed at him.
It certainly doesn't help matters that part of Lexxi's shtick was a lit mirror vanity set atop his cabinet, where he constantly and fastidiously arranged his hair and makeup. This was followed by the hilarious testament to male douche-y virility, "Community Property" and its version of a romantic ballad "Eyes of a Panther." While the PC crowd might have themselves a conniption, those who like humor and music are right at home with these guys.
This was followed by their PSA condemning the Justin Biebers of the world and singling out some of the younger attendees in the audience to rail against becoming a "Bieber" but rather more like Starr, who though unfortunately "30 pounds overweight still gets more pussy than anyone in the world." Starr's visible pouch at age 49 is not meant to be hidden, but rather ridiculed for love -- cue in the Vince Neil and cunnilingus jokes.
Lexxi's sole reason for withstanding the barrage of insults and given lines to utter in the vein of Steve Carell's Brik Tamland character in the Anchorman movies came when Satchel and Starr knelt at his feet for his "hair solo." With pursed lips and obvious admiration, it was evident that those two were blowing (on) him. A one-two punch of "17 Girls in a Row" and "Gloryhole" set up a raucous rendition of "Party All Night (Fuck All Day)" before picking on a Bad Religion T-shirt wearing crowd member who gave them the finger.
Never breaking stride, Satchel informed him: "Relax man, we'll be gone after 16 or 17 more songs. This next one's called 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida'..." before closing out their set with "Death to All but Metal." A fun act I'll be sure to catch again.