by Lina Lecaro
(WARNING: Videos below contain strong language)
During their reign on the Sunset Strip, '80s metal tribute rockers Steel Panther have shared the stage with an undeniably stellar assortment of performers, serving up countless covers over the years -- some rendered flawlessly; others, not so much. Either way, it's always a spectacle when these bawdy, big-haired boys take the stage and invite famous guests to join in on the good dirty fun.
And headbanging fans with great expectations for Steel Panther's final show Monday night at Los Angeles's House of Blues Sunset Strip, before the 21-year-old venue is razed to make room for condo and hotel developments, were not disappointed. Steel Panther bid farewell to the beloved club with a procession of all-star sit-ins, culminating in a freaky family affair featuring frequent Panther guest Billy Ray Cyrus and his notorious daughter, the one and only Miley Cyrus.
Miley hadn’t planned on performing, but when the band prodded her from the stage, encouraging the crowd to chant, “MILEY SING!” over and over again, she just couldn’t say no, joining in on a rousing singalong of Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me.”
While her Panther performance wasn't nearly as racy as her infamous 2013 MTV Video Music Awards appearance or her own concerts, Miley was definitely a dynamic and shameless stage presence once she got into it, hamming it up and grinding on bassist Lexxi Foxx as well as crooning the track’s chorus with frontman Michael Starr and her dad, although she disappointingly refrained from taking the lead on any of the verses.
At least her father took powerful lead on his own number, Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell,” a song he’s done with the band before and clearly has down. He added a subtle Southern rock flair and ferocious growl to the new wave staple that was a long, long way from "Achy Breaky Heart."
Before the Cyruses, other special guests included Extreme’s Nuno Bettencourt, Dane Cook on Van Halen's “Panama,” *NSYNC's Joey Fatone on an amusingly reworked Tom Petty cover called “Free Ballin',” and crowd-pleasing comedy rockers Ninja Sex Party.
Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger and adult film star Ron Jeremy were also in the audience, and as is often Panther’s shtick, both were called out and publicly mocked. Jeremy took the bait at the end of the night and hopped onstage to played harmonica with the band for a brief moment, though this was anti-climactic (no pun intended) after the Billy Ray and Miley's crazy cameo.
Steel Panther savored their goodbye moment at the end sans any guests, however, singing an original song as a dizzying amount of blue confetti flew about the room. The entire night was heavy on their repertoire of raucous and risqué originals, including “Fat Girl,” “Asian Hooker” and “Gloryhole,” during which they did their own version of a balloon drop, releasing dozens of blow-up dolls into the crowd.
The House of Blues may be leaving the Sunset Strip, but rest assured, there are still plenty of HoBs across the country where Steel Panther and Friends can continue to rock out until a new L.A. location is established (Vegas being the most obvious fit for the band’s glitz and glam). Whatever direction the guys decide to head in, their historic final show at the Hollywood House of Blues won't be forgotten any time soon. What Steel Panther do may be parody, but Monday night was no joke.