Touring behind their excellent new album, God Damn Evil, Stryper played for a sellout crowd at Gas Monkey Live Friday. When Stryper rose to fame in the 80’s, I had dismissed them completely. They sounded thin and songs like “Calling on You” struggled for me to gain interest. So I was completely unprepared for what I heard Friday night at Gas Monkey Live. Beginning with “Yahweh” from 2015’s Fallen and “The Valley” from God Damn Evil, the tone was Heavy, rocking and attention-grabbing.
Like a fine wine, age has given Michael Sweet’s voice a stronger commanding sound. He delivered songs like “Loud N’ Clear” and “Sorry” one of the best songs on God Damn Evil with intensity and conviction. Guitarist Oz Fox solos were short but powerful. When he did let loose with a shred solo, it left you wanting to hear more. Rounding out the sound was drummer Robert Sweet and recent bassist recruit Perry Richardson formerly with 80’s hairband Firehouse. Richardson with just a month under his belt looked and played like he was right at home.
Robert Sweet brought driving energy to the beat, giving the heavier songs even more edge. Like Oz Fox, he played to the songs, keeping his flourishes to a minimum.
Too many “legacy” bands won’t play their new songs. To their credit, Stryper played three songs from God Damn Evil, and each one sounded great if not perfect. If there was a low point, it was their song “Honestly,” from the 1986’s To Hell With the Devil release. It was a song they had to play however it felt labored, and the pre-recorded keyboards sounded out of place.
The show finished off with “The Way,” A song with a galloping beat and Iron Maiden style guitars. Additionally, the encore included the song “To Hell With the Devil” which was a fan favorite of every Stryper fan Friday night.
I thoroughly enjoyed this show and am now a fan of Stryper forever. I should add that STRYPER fans are some of the classiest in the Rock and Roll fandom.
Check out more photos of STRYPER at Gas Monkey live below: