This sonic metal quartet originally from L.A., blasted through their ballad-free, straight-up rockin’ set-list like a well-oiled, precision machine and with enough energy to power the eastern seaboard.
Gone are the crazy spandex costumes, globs of make-up and ultra-poofy hair, revealing four stunningly skilled musicians who know how to perform and connect with their audience.
For the 700 who attended Saturday night’s concert, it was an obvious love-fest, with Stryper leading the way and delivering the goods.
In 1983 they signed with Enigma Records and shortly thereafter released an E.P. entitled “The Yellow and Black Attack,” propelling them into the spotlight and making them the first ever “Christian rock band” to achieve mainstream recognition and MTV air-play. Platinum record sales followed, along with Grammy award nominations and highly successful world tours.
They treated the crowd on Saturday to Stryper-'ized versions of Ozzy’s 'Over the Mountain,' Black Sabbath’s, 'Heaven and Hell' and Kiss’ 'Shout It Out Loud,' making the songs their own and breathing a fire into them that you just cannot get from a recording!
He also demonstrated some amazing vocal skills of his own, at one point taking over lead duties on 'Over the Mountain.' When Michael and Oz hit the harmony guitar solos, you would think you were attending a guitar clinic, their stunning synchronicity filling the air with an almost dreamy sonic assault.
(Oz Fox, left and Michael Sweet, right - Photo's by Mark W.T. Payne)
Bass player Timothy Gaines bopped his head and displayed a chunky, rich, thumping style, that was the perfect backdrop for the melodic hard metal sound of the band. He too was incredibly animated.
(Timothy Gaines and Oz Fox - Photo by Mark W.T. Payne)
Finally there was Robert Sweet on the drums. It’s easy to see why they call him their Visual Time-Keeper, as opposed to their drummer! He pounded those skins with a wild and entertaining energy seldom displayed by a musician behind a kit!
Regardless of what you think of their beliefs, Stryper is a wonder to behold, and definitely a contender as one of the best live bands out there.
Do yourself a favour; catch them in concert on this tour! You’ll be glad you did!
Editor's comment: Thanks Mark, big time! :)
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