The Gov hosted a Sunday night sermon for all the faithful rockers out there. Californian Christian metal band Stryper was in town—their first time back in Australia since 2010—and they made it a big one.
Supporting Stryper were two Adelaide bands, Sonic Divide and Rosemont, and they both did their best to warm up the crowd. Sonic Divide managed to fit six members on the stage and rolled straight into their easy listening rock. Effortless vocals soared above catchy choruses, which stepped aside when the guitar solos took centre stage. They were just the introduction to the night that the crowd needed.
Next up was Rosemont and the younger band brought an energy to the stage that elevated their performance beyond just music. With a charismatic frontman, they really worked the space and their ’70s/’80s rock was almost anthemic with a good dose of humour. They had a tough crowd though, and some quips and efforts at audience involvement weren’t responded to. But despite that, they powered on and delivered a great set.
Before Stryper walked on, vocalist Michael Sweet took the stage to say a few words about their guitarist Oz Fox who became seriously ill only a week before the tour was due to start. He played an audio message from Oz who thanked everyone for their love and support, and then they got on with the show as a three-piece. Opening with the powerful song ‘Yahweh,’ the crowd was immediately responsive and it was wonderful to see that there’s still a diversely aged audience for Christian metal. Stryper is everything it was back in 1984; stellar vocals, great hair and excellent guitar solos—it’s just managed to change through the ages and come out as a modern metal band that hails from a different time.
The guys flew through crowd favourites like ‘Revelation,’ ‘In God We Trust’ and ‘Honesty’ to play some golden oldies from their first few albums: ‘Loving You,’ ‘Free’ and ‘Calling On You.’ Of course, they played a few tracks from their latest album God Damn Evil. Michael has a very laidback stage presence, and could quite easily spend the entire set just chatting to the crowd. But he did set aside some time to toss out Bibles with Stryper’s logo on the front cover, explaining that “Robert used to throw those things out and he used to hurt a lot of people! So now we just toss them.”
Energy stayed high throughout the performance, but the most satisfying thing about seeing Stryper perform is the reaction from the crowd. Among the hands of worship were fists and horns, and to see metal and faith combined in such a successful way is inspiring.
It’s clear that the passion these guys have for music and their message remains strong, and we have faith that they’ll continue blessing stages with their brand of Christian metal for years to come.
You can find more photos Stryper on Facebook.
Tuesday, 21 August 2018 – BRISBANE, The Triffid
Photos: Peter Pap