Stryper gig review

STRYPER O2 Islington Academy, London 24th January 2010

Now here’s a band on their 25th anniversary tour and yet this is the first time they have played the UK in 23 years! Stryper are a white metal/Christian rock band who gained lots of press coverage in Kerrang! in the 80’s for the distinctive yellow and black stage attire plus throwing bibles into the audience to spread the message of God. Fast forward to 2010, the band have a toned down stage attire, bar drummer (or ‘Visual Timekeeper’ to give him his proper title) Robert Sweet who has a mass of hair and his own personalised stage top. They throw bibles into the audience to spread the word plus it allows Robert Sweet a brief respite from his thunderous drumming.

The crowd is a mix of metal/rock fans plus a few more well dressed people who may well have come along for the band’s message and certainly didn’t look like hardened metal fans! It’s decent turn out of around 500 people who first up had Draven to entertain them. I reviewed this band’s debut album last year and was taken by their modern rock with a touch of Led Zep, mainly in the guitar arrangements. They did a short set including the Foo Fighters sounding ‘Fight’, ‘Stranger’ and the title track of their debut album, ‘Eden’. For a band who last played live back in October they sounded very tight indeed and live more than matched the promise they showed on their debut album. Look out fro their drummer who fair pummels the drum kit into submission, no wonder he wears ear defenders!

Stryper took to the stage to massive applause and they launched straight into ‘Soldiers Under Command’, swiftly followed by the title track of their latest album ‘Muder By Pride.’ One thing about this band is their classic metal sound – very Saxon like in places – which explains why so many rock fans like the band and are not put off like some by their overtly Christian lyrics.

‘Calling On You’ sounded stunning as the band matched the harmonies of the album and in vocalist Michael Sweet they have a great singer. They tip a nod to one of their musical influences by covering Judas Priest’s ‘Breaking The Law’ and it is a fine cover, staying true to the original. Another good cover was Boston’s ‘Peace Of Mind’, a band they toured with a couple of years ago. ‘Four Leaf Clover’ off their new album nicely finished off this little part of their set. With little between song banter they kept the songs coming and despite playing for just over ninety minutes still managed to pack in nearly twenty songs.

Encores included ‘To Hell With The Devil’ and again you just marvel at the band’s talent and metal riffing. All this metal and no ballads!

A great gig and enjoyed as well by fellow vocalist Jeff Scott Soto who was in the audience and seemed to be loving every minute of it. It may be slightly cliched but Stryper proved tonight the devil doesn’t have all the best tunes. Hopefully they will be back sooner rather than later – Firefest or the High Voltage festival would be ideal.

Jason Ritchie

Setlist:
Soldiers Under Command
Murder By Pride
Loud N Clear
The Rock That Makes Me Roll
Reach Out
Calling on You
Free
More Than a Man
Breaking The Law
Peace of Mind
4 Leaf Clover
Open Your Eyes
All For One
My Love
The Way
Encores:
Sing-Along Song
To Hell With the Devil

Mark Taylor’s review can be read here

One Response to “Stryper gig review”

  1. hey man. its the drummer for draven (O2 academy supporting Stryper). id lust like to thank you for the great review and quite possibly the best comments ever made about my playing. it was a great night.
    thanks for your kind words man
    take care
    danny

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