Sound — 8
Steel Panther are a parody hair metal band from the Sunset Strip (both in legend and reality) that writes and releases original music that is usually better than the music they are parodying. At one point in the distant past, it was a Van Halen tribute band that was popular in the Los Angeles bar scene, accounting for the lead singer's David Lee Roth shrieks. Each of the band members has a funny stage name and they act in character on and off the stage. The band's guitarist Satchel was at one point an instructor at Hollywood's Guitar Institute of Technology and he has recorded in the past with Paul Gilbert, the point being that his skills stretch far beyond those necessary for the purposely cheesy power ballads he writes in Steel Panther. The band has enjoyed success in Europe and Australia while in the United States they have toured mostly as an opening act to actual '80s metal/hard rock bands such as Judas Priest.
This live, acoustic album has a cute story to it that directly falls in line with the band's modus operandi. As you can tell from the title of the album and the video below, Steel Panther is performing in a garage, specifically that of Lexxi's mom. Lexxi Foxx is the bass player of the band and his character's mother happens to be the notorious '80s/'90s model Bobbie Brown. Some may recognize her as the girl from the music video for Warrant's 1990 single "Cherry Pie." For their crowd, Steel Panther contracted the services of a fair number of scantily clad young women, paid by the minute according to lead singer Michael Starr.
So, to begin with Star puts a disclaimer on the album, explaining that what we are hearing is indeed live but has been cleaned up in the studio. He could just be harping on the old rock and roll irony that most live albums are not as live as they claim to be. On the other hand, that may explain why the sound of the album is so good for a live album. The bass is heavy, but the acoustic guitar is clear. The vocals sound good, the drums push through, and the band members don't make any noticeable mistakes.
Satchel has changed some of his guitar parts for this album. This makes a lot of sense given the different environment that an unplugged setting entails. For example, he doesn't play some of his guitar solos because the band's sound would get noticeably thinner if he did. In some situations, he substitutes chords for single notes in order to create a thicker sound. Overall Satchel does a superb job with his acoustic playing, evincing his guitar mastery in yet another manner.
Lyrics — 7
Frontman Michael Starr delivers the raspy, stereotypically '80s vocals that he has throughout his time in Steel Panther. With him, you always know what you are going to get; Starr is one of the most consistent singers in the rock/metal scene today. Just as consistent as his performance is his onstage personality, which shines on this album more than on others since he has the impetus to talk between songs. His raunchy, immature speeches and jokes fit remarkably well with his speaking voice, making his character the band's most authentic. He's like that guy you really want to shut up but deep down inside you are waiting for the next ridiculous thing he is going to say (comparisons to the real world welcome in comments section).
Overall Impression — 6
To be honest, this album isn't the biggest deal in the world. Sure, you get to hear Steel Panther's best songs in a new format. Yes, the band does a good, professional job of adapting their songs to the acoustic setting. There are even some new originals on the album. At the end of the day though, this is something that you're going to want to look at, maybe even listen through all the way once, but you're not going to keep it around that long and it's probably not worth your time to buy it.
But hey, give their YouTube video a few views, go see them when they tour, and you'll realize with a good chuckle why you're happy that hair metal is as dead as disco.