Twelve months ago they blew away the opposition with a short but sickly sweet set in a sweaty tent at Download. Back then they were still relative unknowns but such obscurity was never going to last.
A year on and Castle Donington couldn’t wait for the new heroes of the UK’s biggest rock festival with Steel Panther T-shirts, outrageous synthetic wigs and eyeliner the order of the day for vast swathes of delirious fans.
When Lexxi Foxxx and Satchel appeared stage right to check out the original hair metal heroes of Cinderella there was a mad rush to the barriers separating rock’s new royalty from their crazed admirers.
And when all four of the Panthers took up a highly visible position on the VIP viewing platform, during Slash’s sensational set, there was an even greater outpouring of emotion with wide-eyed teens paying homage to four men in their late 40s (or even early 50s) rather than concentrate on the original guitar hero.
So just what is it about 2010’s decidedly daft answer to Spinal Tap that continues to capture the imagination of so many otherwise sane individuals?
Is it that these veterans of the Sunset Strip preach an appealing mantra of utter excess at a time when the man in the street is seeking an escape from financial meltdown?
Is it that metal has been taking itself far too seriously for far too long and it’s high time a quartet of comic geniuses be allowed to poke fun at the very scene which spawned the aforementioned Cinderella 25 years ago?
Or is it, perhaps, that they play cracking songs at a brisk pace with a collective smile on their face? That is, of course, the big difference between Steel Panther and Spinal Tap – the latter’s songs are actually quite good. Ok, so they don’t deviate wildly from the subjects of women, partying and booze but then neither did the bands they ape so well. The lyrics are hilarious, the choruses rock and the musicianship is simply faultless.
There are those who have insisted the joke would wear thin ever since 2009’s Download set won critical and widespread acclaim. But judging by the reaction to Steel Panther on Sunday there’s still plenty of fun to be had for all where this band of glammed up glory boys is concerned.
A 2011 main stage set is the obvious progression for a band which already belongs to Download. And after that? Who knows? Could Steel Panther co-headline the UK’s biggest rock and metal festival in two years’ time? Where this band is concerned absolutely anything is possible – let’s hope the juggernaut just keeps on rolling.