Steel Panther with Hillbilly Herald

Irving Plaza, NYC

by Noel Edge (April 23, 2013)

In 5 Words or Less 2013's best show to date! [NYC that is - which kinda says a lot]
Affiliation with KNEW GEN None
Genre 80's hair metal (parody) and hard rock

It's been a year since I've seen Steel Panther and the last time was at Irving Plaza too.  Again, it's a wicked place to see a show with lots of atmosphere.  Even better if you're in the VIP section upstairs with great views and no waiting at the bar to "liquor up" (BTW, the sound is mixed to be heard best at the soundboard upstairs in the VIP section - as usual).  A little pissed though that the boys didn't hold the meet-and-greet for VIPs like they did last year - the girl I was with really wanted to "meat" them.  What, you guys too "upper crust" to meet some folks that paid extra for tickets to see your show?  By the way, the Hillbilly crew was out socializing with the peasants...cheers boys!!!

Last year there was a DJ rather than an opening act, so it wasn't worth showing up early.  I've seen Steel Panther in various cities (LA, Vegas, etc.) and the only time I've seen them with an opening act was in NJ.  Showed up for half the opener's act and they were, uhhh..better than a DJ.  This year was entirely different though.  Never heard of Hillbilly Herald, saw their entire 10 song set and was surprised as hell (in a kickass way).  Great that the Panther recognizes talent.

Steel Panther's Set

After seeing Steel Panther live a number of times and in a number of cities over the last few years, I have to admit that the between-song-banter was getting a little stale.  This show though?  Fuckin' awsome new (at least 90%) material!  Sure, the themes were the same but the jokes and delivery were fresh.  Some new Judas Priest-like choreography during the tunes too.  Bonus!  As usual, the tunes, sound and musicianship kicked ass.  See my other live reviews on the site if you want more detail about what it's like to see them live.  I have no idea why Michael Starr and Satchel aren't mentioned in the convos about who the best metal singers and guitarists are during the last decade.  Travesty of justass!

The NYC fans rocked like last time, but again, the guy-to-girl ratio was just way too fuckin' high!  Like 10 to 1!  NJ shows are much less of a sausage-fest.  And how dare the 2 chicks that got onstage NOT show their tits and make out!  Who do you think you are!?!  You can see last year's boob/makeout-fest video here.

Hillbilly Herald's Set Hillbilly Herald?  Never heard of it.  The New York Times of Alabama?  I mistakenly told the girl I was with that the opening act was called Hillbilly Herman.

Although Steel Panther delivered big time (like always), these guys were the surprise of the night.  They hit the stage with a hard-rockin' old-meets-new groove and didn't stop through their entire set.  Let me break their show out for ya in sound bites.

Stage presence:  plenty of sunglasses, hair, leather, denim, facial hair and relaxed attitude (need I say more?) - they know they belong on the stage and look comfortable up there -crazy hillbilly (from the swamp) vocalist (I think he's the offspring of the late-great Bon Scott and some chick in the "deep" south), with sleevless shirt (more trailer park than hillbilly wife-beater), cutoff jean shorts, white sport socks, sneakers and "deliverance" beard- fuckin' cool!

Tunes: straight-ahead hard rock, honest/no bullshit, lotsa gang vocals and catchy choruses, great use of guitar feedback and plenty of over-the-top song-endings (these guys groove like Crystal Pistol - another band I didn't hear of until a couple years back - obviously I've been living under a rock without knowing it) - the Hillbillies love what they do and anyone who loves rock 'n roll will dig 'em

Performance and Sound: set was kickass tight! both guitarist know their way around the fretboard - good bass riffs and a rich bass sound with that Ampeg ring and punch to it - one helluva drummer (although he uses double kick, rather than double bass - that's an easy fix) - spoke with Louis and he told me that he didn't have anything coming through his drum monitors during the set! unbelievable on 2 fronts (1) that the band was so tight despite that problem and (2) that the sound guy either fucked up or fucked him - either way, great job and hats off to the Hillbillies!

What's Knext?  Get my lazy ass to i-Tunes and download Hillbilly Herald's EP - you should watch for my review, but don't wait for the EP yourself and experience the Hillbilly first hand - and don't let a couple hundred miles' drive keep you from seeing them live, better a shitfun road trip now to see them in a smaller venue than waiting to see them in an arena - hear me now and believe me later!!!

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