Steel Panther / StinkMitt Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver BC August 4

Steel Panther / StinkMitt Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver BC August 4
Surrey retro rappers StinkMitt missed the mark opening this gig. Fronted by the animated duo of Betti Forde and Jenni Craige, and supported by a dude dressed as a surgeon who feigned scratching while pressing play on a MacBook Pro, their brand of crude early '90s electro did not go over well. Granted, it was nice to have an estrogen-heavy foil to balance out the testosterone-pumping cock rock of headliner Steel Panther, but it was obvious these girls were not nearly as committed or talented.

Tracks about menstruation and camel toes tempered the floodgates, but with each track going on about two minutes too long, even the faithful began to falter by the end of their set. StinkMitt made a critical mistake when they announced they had time for one more track by continuing to ask if the crowd wanted it, after which a loud booing ensued and continued throughout their final song.

The problems with StinkMitt became more apparent as L.A. glam metal outfit Steel Panther took the stage. First off, Steel Panther contain actual musicians. Formerly of the L.A. Guns, singer Michael Starr has serious pipes, and guitarist Satchel proved why he had been in a band with Rob Halford with every riff; his extended soloing was truly impressive on a technical level. Overall, the band's influences were clear, especially with covers of Van Halen, Black Sabbath and Halford's Judas Priest on their set list, among others.

In addition to Steel Panther's obvious proficiency in the genre, they displayed an unwavering loyalty to their characters. Their colourfully coarse patter was executed as masterfully as any comedy troupe, punctuated by their hilariously spaced-out bassist Lexxi Foxxx, who broke out a glittery mirror to fix his makeup and hair between songs. They all showed genuine affection to the crowd, accepting gifts from rabid fans and thanking their supporters.

While the opening act was a novelty, the level of commitment shown by Steel Panther is nothing short of commendable in this age of irony and perpetual fad. They eat, breathe and live the role of heavy metal icons. Even if you find some of what they do offensive, tapping into the basest beer-swilling, scissor-kicking, red-necking, womanizing aspects of rock, you have to respect them on some level. They put on a real rock show.