Steel Panther’s ascension to the Download main stage was written in the Starrs from the moment the then relatively unknown spoof hair metallers made a lasting impression inside the Red Bull tent in 2009.
Frontman Michael Starr might have got his tents mixed up (he pointed to the Pepsi Max stage when recounting the band’s glorious Castle Donington debut) but it was the only mistake on a day when one of the slickest acts on the planet proved there’s life in the rock pastiche yet.
With new album Balls Out blessed with more laugh-out-loud classics in the vein of Feel The Steel’s finest offerings there’s suddenly meat on the bones (or should that be boner) of a Steel Panther set.
And it was an hilarious version of Just Like Tiger Woods that really won over the Download masses – the majority of whom had never seen the phenomenon that is Starr, Stix Zadina, Lexxi Foxxx and Satchel in the flesh.
Flesh, of course, is a (often very) big part of any Panther show and whenever Starr needed to take a breather images of breasts popped up all over the sparkling high definition screens to give the singer and his colleagues a fresh lease of life.
The reality of an ambitious American marketing dream, the supremely talented quartet previously known as Metal Skool never appear flustered and always talk dirty. But for all their lewd banter and obsession with tits there’s obvious talent and an admirable work ethic underpinning everything Panther do so well.
Slipknot’s Corey Taylor was in town and unmasked to deliver an insanely popular solo show in the Pepsi Max tent later that night but an early arrival meant he was the star turn on Death To All But Metal.
Taylor featured on three of Feel The Steel’s finer tracks and if the Panther needed any added credibility then one of metal’s biggest names endorsed the legend in tandem with a beaming Starr.
Concerns that the joke would soon be over for one of global promoter Live Nation’s biggest draws appear unfounded. And only Yngwie J Malmsteen would have found the band’s Download set disappointing as the portly guitar hero found himself the butt of Panther’s cruel humour.
For those in the know this was a typically assured set from four seasoned entertainers. And for the rest there’s little doubt that Steel Panther were the weekend’s boobies prize.