Stryper Brings Their Yellow And Black Attack To Club Nokia In LA
If there’s one thing you can say about Stryper, it’s that they still bring the rock that makes them roll. Even after 28 years of making music, the heavy metal pioneers sound as powerful as they were in the 80’s. Having last seen the Yellow and Black Attack rockers in 1985, it was tough for this reviewer to know what to expect. But, from the first licks of the dueling, harmonizing guitars to the angelic voice of Michael Sweet, their sound was amazingly quite the same.
The original lineup of Stryper- Michael Sweet, Oz Fox, Robert Sweet and Timothy Gaines- was back together as one. Their clothing was modernized, but, they still sported the classic yellow and black striped instruments that helped them make their mark on popular music.
There was anticipation in the room. It was filled with dedicated fans- you know, the ones jumping around and singing along with every lyric. A few fathers even brought their wives and kids to let them in on the Stryper experience. The moment that Oz Fox walked out on stage, you could feel a communal feeling in the room.
The next 90 minutes were filled with fists in the air and smiles, all around. Stryper’s music and message had that same edge and truth that it always has. They blasted through anthems such as “Calling On You” and “Reach Out.” Michael Sweet’s voice soared over the crunchy guitars and glam hooks. He didn’t miss a note the entire night.
Sweet spoke about the band’s new album, The Covering, on which they cover influential hard rock songs like Black Sabbath’s “Heaven and Hell” and tracks by Led Zeppelin, Ozzy Osbourne and Iron Maiden. He said that they have been receiving many questions about their faith, because of the album. Sweet then explained that these were the songs that shaped their musical tastes and they wanted to pay homage to those songs. He noted that the final song on the new album is a track called, “God,” that affirms their Christianity. Sweet finished by saying, “Our faith is still strong!,” which was met by heavy cheers from the crowd.
Later, according to tradition, the four band members came out to the front of the stage and threw Bibles into the crowd. Moments later, they were back to the rock, shaking the house with hits like, “Free,” “Calling On You,” and “Surrender.” They played a shredding cover of Kansas’ “Carry On My Wayward Son” to perfection. A soaring Oz Fox guitar solo was soon to follow.
This was the same band who crossed over into MTV rotation (back in the day when the channel actually showed videos) with their energetic videos and massive stage presence. Their truth-filled and life changing lyrics brought fans together and they developed a loyal fan base that has been with them through multiple musical seasons.
By the time that the encore came around, the fans were ready to rock to the epic, “To Hell With The Devil.” The mantra of the song’s chorus held the same deep victorious power that it has for 3 decades. “Soldiers Under Command” closed out the night with a triumphant crescendo. Sweet took the time to pray with and encourage the crowd, before leaving the stage. A perfect ending to a night that was just as much an experience as a concert.
Stryper continues their tour across the US this spring.