Despite rumors to the contrary, Sex, Drugs, and Rock ’n Roll are still alive and were on full display at the Sunset House of Blues when A.H.M.A.D. and Steel Panther took the stage on the same night. Well…the drugs weren’t actually on display but there was no shame in talking about the recreational use of “weed” or other drugs. Political correctness was not present on this evening, hence the title of this review - “Rock ‘n Roll Like it Oughta Be.”
Three bands were on the bill for this Free night of 1980‘s level decadence, but my reason for coming to the Sunset Strip on a Monday night was to see the guitar virtuoso AHMAD and his band AND to finally see the infamous Glam Rockers Steel Panther. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing A.H.M.A.D. many times and I’ve had the opportunity to see Steel Panther many more times, but this was my first actual Steel Panther experience - and it was an experience, but first it’s all about A.H.M.A.D.
The sultry and seductive Erika Renee took over vocals earlier this year for A.H.M.A.D. and has proven to be a wise choice. Her stage presence and delivery ooze pure soul and drip with Rock ‘n Roll attitude while AHMAD always delivers an intense and nearly flawless performance. Wearing (proudly) his “AHMAD is My Sand Nigga” tee shirt also proved he has both a sense of humor and Rock ‘n Roll irreverence. A.H.M.A.D. had been auditioning bass players for awhile and this was my first show seeing the new guy who simply goes by “X”. He was so new to the band he had cheat sheet tabs near one of his monitors - of course I busted his balls for it before they played but he busted out an amazing performance - kudos to X and all of A.H.M.A.D. for a killer performance and setting the stage for the headliners…Steel Panther.
If you’ve ever heard of Steel Panther, but have not seen them live, you’ve probably heard many different things about them both positive and negative. The negative I heard went something like this… “They’re just a Sunset Strip cover band making money off the 80’s scene…” and the positive I heard about them went something like this… “Boobs!”. Monday September 2nd was the day I saw for myself the show, the experience that is Steel Panther. Yes I saw boobs aplenty and yes the band was dressed in their spandex, big hair, guy liner, and stage make up. What I wasn’t expecting was the packed to the rafters crowd singing along to the bands original hits and the tongue in cheek banter/comedy play the band had between songs, engaging the crowd (all of the crowd - not just the ladies). Yes they played covers, but they’re not a cover band. Also surprising was the guest singers who joined the band on stage. Joey Fatone ('N Sync) joined the band and about 20 woman from the crowd for a wonderfully politically incorrect song about ladies. Later on it was time for Tommy Vext, former lead singer for Snot to join the fun with another “lady” from the crowd who did her part in performing for him and the crowd, which, as she stated, included her father. I have to admit that I was going to cut out of the show early if they sucked but I am happy to say I stayed until the very end and will be going to see them again, next time with my wife. If you are NOT easily offended by crude language, random drug references, boobs, and 12 year old boy humor, I’ll see you at a Steel Panther show.