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HOME SLEAZE HOME: STEEL PANTHER NIGHT RETURNS TO THE KEY CLUB

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When the Key Club in West Hollywood closed its doors in December 2009, the eight-legged party beast Steel Panther had to find a new hair rock habitat for their weekly shows. At first, it was a relief when Michael Starr and crew cock-strutted a few blocks down Sunset to the House of Whites Blues: admission got cheaper, the room bigger, and sound better. But, for the sleaze of hair rock, a music venue/shopping mall/tourist trap isn’t the preferred setting. So sometime around March, I started to long for a return to the safety of a drug-friendly sweat hole with dark corners and unpolice-able bathrooms. After all, the Key Club was once the site of Ben Gazzari’s eponymous rock club, where the sleaze don once proudly showcased his barely-legal harem and, for VIPs, his somewhat prescient home video skills; meanwhile, HoB has a freakin’ gift shop.

You’d want maximum possible sleaze, too, once you survey the crowd. It’s mostly tourists (literally and figuratively), but filled out with solitary guys like me, unaccompanied and dead serious, fidgeting through extended bouts of boob-flashing  (our sighs seem to say “Just show ’em already and let’s get on with the Whitesnake covers!”) and secretaries-gone-wild sing-alongs (not to be a sandy vagina, but I submit that “Don’t Stop Believin’” is not hair rock). Our visual mating call is a non-ironic hair metal shirt and a general vibe of impatience for the super hits.

And finally, the, ahem, celebrities: Kelly Osbourne and Ryan Cabrera seem to be in attendance always, probably to enjoy the rare pleasure of having their names announced to a group of people. Last week, the Black-Eyed Peas retinue colonized the room’s northeast corner, directly beneath era-appropriate superstar Corey Feldman against the second-floor railing. Feldman later led a trainwreckish performance of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and I was almost too busy eye-fucking his companion to notice that the the dude is still hilarious, as exemplified by this post-song exchange:

Corey (to Satchel): Wait, is this the mic that you deep-throated before?
Sathel: That mic was up our singer’s butthole, dude.
Corey: Oh god, no.
Michael: Don’t worry, it’s no worse than a crack pipe.
Corey: (incredulous) Yes, it is!

Feldman wasn’t the only non-tittied guest to the stage. A lucky (but unfortunate) birthday boy was extracted from the crowd to transform “Livin’ On A Prayer” into “Fussin’ With My Scarves,” before attempting a plug for his own project. Later, a haircut band from Australia conspired against Steel Panther to forever sour “You Shook Me All Night Long,” all for the benefit of MTV cameras rolling away on some pre-forgotten reality show. It was disturbing and traumatic, not unlike watching grown men sing along with raised eyebrows to “I Want It That Way” by Backstreet Boys, albeit the rocked-up Steel Panther version. And not unlike wearing an encroaching armpit like a helmet, thanks to this drunk retard with dreads who must’ve been starring in his own imaginary reality show. (When removing his elbow from my eye socket, I was advised by him to “Relax, mate.”) Ah, it’s great to be back at the Key Club!

-ADF

Catch the Steel Panther show Mondays at The Key Club in West Hollywood or in Las Vegas on Fridays at House of Blues and on Saturdays at Green Valley Ranch.

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