Heavy Metal Hair Bands are alive and well. At least they are if you ask Steel Panther.

There is more to this shoot that I just went and shot the band. There is some history and a bit of a story. It has to do with photoshop World, Las Vegas, and a slew of photographers, including Joe McNally and Zack Arias and McNally’s head assistant, Drew Gurian.

I just want to preface the rest of the story with “It was all Drew’s idea”

Photoshop World had just wrapped up and it was Friday night in Las Vegas. My wife and I were wondering what to do, since we weren’t flying home till Saturday afternoon. Should we go out for a nice dinner, or maybe play a few hands of blackjack, we could take a walk down the Strip or maybe head to Freemont Street.

Thats when Drew came up to us with the idea of seeing Steel Panther at the House of Blues. The show was at midnight and tickets were only $20 and it would be a blast…. “C’mon” he said, “everyone is going and it will be fun”. Turns out Drew was a fan of Steel Panther and enjoyed the tweets from their lead drummer Stixzadinia. We should have known this was going to be an interesting show when we went the House of Blues box office to get tickets and there was a warning posted to the window that the show had adult themes and that it possibly offensive to some. What they should have said was that it was going to be offensive to all. There was a great crowd of photographers there, including Joe McNally, Zack Arias, Drew, Vanelli, Krysten, Eric, and Dan, but not a camera among us. Mostly due to the House of Blues no camera policy. I did manage to get some cell phone shots with the iPhone 4 that i still use as examples of timing over gear, but that another story.

To cut what is already a long story short, by the time the show ended, Joe and 60% of the other folk I knew in the audience had left because they were old and tired and needed their beauty rest. I saw the show in a different way…. These were guys rocked and I really wanted to photograph them. The outfits were over the top, the antics were over the top and the lighting (at least in Vegas) was amazing. The music was great too!

Skip forward a couple of months and I see that Steel Panther is going to be at the San Diego House of Blues on 12/29/2010 so I contacted Stix on twitter and went about working on getting a photo pass. So the other night I got to shoot Steel Panther in concert and it was a blast. The band were exactly as I remember them but since the venue was different, the sight-lines were different. I skip over the drunk woman who threw up at the entrance to the photo pit and her drunk friends that ended up on stage later on. I’ll skip the comments and stage banter since I really couldn’t do it justice but take it from me, if you are easily offended, then don’t see this band.

Enough of my writing, lets see some photos…

All images were taken with a Nikon D700 and either a 16mm f/2.8 Fisheye, 24-70mm f/2.8, or 70-200 f/2.8 lens and captured using Hoodman Raw CompactFlash cards.

The full gallery :

Many thanks to the Steel Panther management at to Stix for the connection. I guess a thanks goes out to Drew for introducing me to this band.