Hampton Beach, New Hampshire
October 5, 2017
Did you know that the definition of a Casino is a large room or building used for meetings or entertainment or dancing? Neither did I until I went to Hampton Beach Casino in New Hampshire hoping to hit a few slot machines before seeing the evening’s entertainment and finding not a single slot machine there. Disappointing. Except when you realize that the Casino Ballroom is all about great music and great bands.
This was another first for me that night. I have never been to a show here and I have to say I was impressed. Sitting on the main drag with beaches and the ocean right across the street it is smack dab in the middle of a classic New England Summer Vacation hot spot, which thank God was pretty much shuttered for the fall and winter. Parking was easy to find.
Over the last year or two, I have been to few different venues in New England and New York, and Hampton Beach Casino is now in my top 5 places to catch a show. The place is huge and holds, if I was told right, about 2500 people. Huge open floor with 3 or 4 bars and a food counter. There were tables and booths to sit and drink and eat also. If you’re lucky enough, there is a second level where there are boxes that held by various sponsors of the venue. Drink prices were normal, 4 bucks for a 20 ounce bottle of coke and 3 bucks for a mediocre slice of pepperoni pizza. There is a lot more to the menu but I really wasn’t that hungry.
Hailing from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Red Sky Mary was the band tapped to start the night’s festivities. Consisting of Sam Vlasich, vocals, Tom Boisse, guitar, Barrett Goeman, drums, and Gary Boisse on bass, RSM is a staple of the New Hampshire and Maine Rock scene, though I am pretty sure I have seen them at The Webster in Hartford in the past. They delivered a well received set that shows their popularity in this neck of the woods.
The night belonged to LA Rockers, Steel Panther, a throwback to the Glam and Rock of that decade of decadence, The 80s. The Bastard Children of David St. Hubbins, Derek Smalls, Nigel Tufnel and only the Lord knows which one of so many drummers they had, started unto the stage to the deafening roar of an excited audience and the opening chords of “Eyes of Panther”, a nod to their latest album “Lower the Bar” with “Going in the Backdoor” next up and a crowd that was singing along to every word. Singer, Michael Starr was all over the stage, bringing back memories of the great frontmen of the 80’s, the Diamond Dave influence was definitely there.
Bassist, Lexxi Foxx hardly ever strayed from his side of the stage, or should I say, he never strayed to far from the mirror and hair spray, so conveniently set up on a chair. As he took care of his hair and pouted into a mirror, Satchel, guitarist, started talking to the crowd. Introducing the band first up, Michael Starr, “The Greatest Heavy Metal Singer in the room”, then spoke a bit about the new album, “Lower the Bar” and then a nod to the passing of Hugh Hefner and Tom Petty, after a few more words Michael introduced “The happiest guy in the band”, Satchel, guitarist. A few more off color jokes from Satchel and then he introduces “the Foxiest Bassist in Heavy F’n Metal” Lexxi Foxx, who in turn introduces “the best F’n Drummer in this band”, Stix Zadinia.
Then it was back to the music as they started into “Asian Hooker” then my time in the photo pit was over and I got to hang with the rambunctious crowd. Next up on the setlist was “Just Like Tiger Woods” followed by “Let Me Cum In”, “Wasted Too Much Time”, and “Poontang Boomerang” Satchel’s guitar solo was at this point, this was fantastic, it started off with the usual guitar stuff, fast notes and lots of whammy bar at one point standing at the drums and using the bass drum as he went into playing snippets of songs such as, “Smoke on the Water”, “Breaking the Law”, a bit of Maiden but not enough for me to know the song, then some Metallica and a lil “Crazy Train”, a bit of GnR then ‘Iron Man” then something I have never heard before, he started into “Do Re Mi” a fantastic solo that had everyone cheering along.
“Turn Out the Lights” was up next then it was announced it was Stix’s birthday and a girl was pulled from the floor to the stage, who happened to be named Jessie with an impromptu version of Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl” was started and then the girls started to come up to the stage for the next few songs, “Girl from Oklahoma”, “17 Girls in a Row” and “Glory Hole”, next up was a smidge of “Gold Digging Whore” then “Community Property” with “Death To All But Metal” finishing off the set.
It didn’t take long for the crowd to start chanting for Steel Panther to come back out, and they happily obliged, and led the crowd in a rousing version of “Party All Day (Fuck All Night).
Steel Panther is one of those shows, you have to go to. That’s the only way to really appreciate them. The music is great and the banter between them is hilarious, but the talent is undeniable. Michael has the stage presence of the greats, and Satchel’s guitar work is amazing. Stix and Lexxi give them a solid backbone. As much as I would like to see them drop the shtick, I doubt they would as popular as they are now, it works, it is entertainment. It is highly recommended by Me.
Check out the photos of STEEL PANTHER
Photos & Review by Frank Piercy