Judas Priest and Steel Panther live in Evansville

Judas Priest\’s Redeemer of Souls Tour arrived in Evansville, IN on 22 October at the Ford Center.  The years behind them have not slowed them down; their performance – and the album it promoted – swells with the verve of a younger band. The Ford Center is not the most welcoming of venues.  It overcrowds a limited metropolitan area and stacks toddler sized chairs around the arena.  Fortunately for this reporter\’s back, and unfortunately for the venue, so few tickets sold that the seats remained largely vacant. Steel Panther, a parody of glam at its worst, is a solid band with a knack for showmanship and was well chosen to cater to an audience of aged metal fans in various phases of sobriety.  With songs like “Pussywhipped” and “Asian Hooker,” it took me some time to warm up to the idea. I saw them at the Louder Than Life Festival in Louisville, KY last month, and scoffed.  Their pubic-low leopard spotted tights and breaks in the songs to reapply cosmetics serve only to overshadow their skilled musicianship and demean their tribute. Despite the poor turn out, Judas Priest delivered an energized and intricate show, however identical to their Louder Than Life performance.  Their dueling guitars banter well together.  Halford\’s vocals grew weaker throughout the set, yet his highs were studio-worthy in the early songs like “Metal Gods” and “Devil\’s Child.”  My favorite track from their new album, “Halls of Valhalla” fell short to me.  I noticed this at the Fest too: Judas Priest likes to accelerate the tempo of their songs when they play them live.  It makes for stimulated show, but it unveils Halford\’s limitations. As a rule, never pass on a Judas Priest concert (we don\’t know how many more there will be), but have the album close at hand. -Andrew Harris