LAS VEGAS - "If you don't like this f---ing song, blame Van Halen, dude," sneered Metal Skool guitarist Satchel, a rocker who flashes his tongue at the ladies while fondling his chest. The Los Angeles-based glam-metal lampoon act then prepared to launch into the Halen classic "Jump." But before the song's synth-laden opening began to chime, the band - a parody of every hair-metal band there ever was, wrapped up in one tight spandex package - invited old pal Lil Jon up to handle lead vocals.
But Jon was nowhere to be found -- at first. "Dude, I can't find him," frontman Michael Starr said as he gazed out into the audience. "That's 'cause he's lil'!", Satchel shot back.
The rapper, rocking an enormous gold chain around his neck and a diamond-encrusted bracelet around his right wrist, eventually emerged from the darkness to take control of the mic. In between lyrics like, "I get up, and nothing gets me down" and "You got it tough, I've seen the toughest around," Jon belted out his trademark "Whaaaat?!"s and scurried around the stage, pogoing furiously. The MC's constant movement was enough to send foam spurting out the neck of the beer that never left his hand.
Metal Skool, one of the only bands on the planet that'll have you doubled over with laughter while still managing to throw the horns, performed in Las Vegas Thursday night at the Hard Rock Hotel's Body English club. The concert was one of several pre-MTV Video Music Awards events being held in Sin City and perhaps one of the strangest, teeming with odd collaborations.
The gig attracted a bevy of scantily clad beauties and a strange assortment of rockers and celebrities, including Pauly Shore, the Bravery's Sam Endicott, System of a Down drummer John Dolmayan and mixed martial-arts fighter Tito Ortiz and his girlfriend, former porn star Jenna Jameson, who spent much of the night canoodling in one of the corners of the club's V.I.P. section.
With their long teased hair, zebra-print spandex pants (complete with requisite bulge), ripped T-shirts and over-the-top makeup (bassist Lexxi Foxxx touched up his lip gloss between each and every song of the band's set, which included Guns N' Roses' "Paradise City" and Mötley Crüe's "Kickstart My Heart"), Metal Skool's takeoff on '80s Aqua Net metal is nothing short of perfect. They've even got the whole song-dedication thing down: Before honoring Journey with a brilliant version of "Don't Stop Believin'," Starr sent the track out to all of the well-endowed ladies in the crowd, without whom "there would be no reason to wear green spandex."
At one point, Metal Skool even threatened to "play Hoobastank all night" if the crowd didn't respond vigorously enough to their performance.
Jon guested on two songs: "Jump" and an impromptu jam session with Skool and System bassist Shavo Odadjian, who, when joining the band onstage, was himself joined by two women who pranced around him like strippers on acid. "Show us your [breasts]!" Jon shouted at one of them, encouraging the audience to chant along with him. When the woman refused, Jon let his frustration get the best of him. "Get your a-- offstage if you're not going to show us those [breasts] - this is a f---ing rock show!"
The special guests didn't end there. During the Skool's cover of Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me," Incubus bassist Ben Kenney hopped onstage to sing, but he didn't know the song's lyrics - but then redeemed himself by strapping on Foxxx's bass for a rendition of Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer."
"Make some noise for that guy from Incubus," Starr said. "He's famous ... whatever his name is."
Catch all the star-packed VMA action direct from Las Vegas on Sunday. MTV News' preshow kicks things off live at 8 p.m. ET, followed by the big show at 9 p.m.
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