Photos and Review by Chris Besaw
Ah yes, the holiday season is upon us here in Upstate NY. Cold, brisk weather, warm libations to keep spirits and body warm and bright, the only thing missing is a killer holiday party. This is exactly what happened this past Friday night in the Finger Lakes Region of CNY. And who to better host a kick-ass party at the del Lago Casino and Resort other than the ultimate party band, Steel Panther? So, break out those worn leather jackets, slap on some black eyeliner, tease up that hair, and hang on because this was one wild holiday party you will not forget.
Kicking off the evening was the power rock trio from York, Pa, Small Town Titans. This was a pleasant surprise mainly because I did not realize there was going to be an opening act this evening. I had heard the name Small Town Titans from time to time but never had the opportunity to see them play.
After a brief intro pumping through the speakers, the band stormed the stage, and the party was off and running. Some of the songs that stood out were “Rufflin’ Feathers,” and “Behind the Moon,” both such high-energy songs; a great way to kick off their set. I was amazed at the nonstop pure energy from guitarist Ben Guiles. Not sure he stopped moving and the crowd loved it. Not only is bassist/vocalist Phil Freeman an incredible singer but he definitely knows how to bring the thunder with his bass skills. Let’s not forget to acknowledge the beast, Jonny Ross, who was keeping the beat in check on the drums. Overall, a very enjoyable set. I suggest checking them out if you have the opportunity.
The stage went dark and the crowd started getting riled up for the main event, Steel Panther. Van Halen’s “Unchained” pumped through the speakers. Steel Panther then charged the stage all decked out in classic glam and metal attire launching into “Goin’ in the Backdoor.” The band is currently out on their Claus & Paws Holiday Party 2022 and band members Mike Starr (vocals), Spyder (bass), Satchel (guitars), and Stix Zadinia (drums) are here to do just that, party!
I really enjoy seeing these guys play because not only are they a bunch of incredibly talented musicians but they know how to entertain a crowd. Vocalist Mike Starr is a great singer but some of his stage antics and banter are downright hilarious. Some of my favorite quips from the night were Mike Starr pointing out how the band is number one in the 60 and up listener demo, and unlike some other musicians (hint, Vince Neil) he sings more than 70% of his songs, and that regretfully there will be no Kayne West cover songs tonight in Waterloo, NY. Speaking of cover songs, the fans were in for an awesome treat, guitarist Lexii Lynn Frazier (Top Gun: Maverick) was in attendance and the band convinced her to come out and play Van Halen’s “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love!” Holy Smokes, she is absolutely a beast on guitar, keep an eye on her!
Some of my favorite songs from the evening were the band’s versions of the Guns n Roses classic, “Mr. Brownstone” and Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train.” Mike Starr does a spot-on Ozzy impression. Aside from their covers, I really got into heavy hitters such as “Tomorrow Night,” and “Death to All But Metal.”
Since it is a holiday party, why not play a holiday song? Who couldn’t enjoy their yuletime-inspired song, “The Stocking Song?” After a fierce 12 songs of pure party metal, the band took a brief leave before coming out and cranking out a killer encore. The best part of this encore was there was a crowd member who talked the band into letting him play their final song “Glory Hole” on drums betting them he could kill it. So they let him. Not only was the band blown away but the crowd at del Lago was impressed and cheering him on because god damn that guy was amazing on drums! Mike Starr joked that he was hired. The band thanked everyone for partying with them on this cold night in Waterloo and left, leaving the fans wanting more. If you haven’t seen them you can still catch them on tour until the end of January.