Before Wiz Khalifa was born, Stryper unleashed their own brand of “Black and Yellow” on the world in the form of The Yellow and Black Attack. Stryper was a decidedly Christian answer to hair metal in the ’80s, musically in league with such bands as Motley Crüe and Def Leppard. Stryper, as I observed October 8th at the intimate Agoura Hills venue The Canyon Club, had and still has a fairly large following in a time where metal music is almost always accompanied by screaming vocals. I should know; I listen to a lot of modern Metal.
But, I would be remiss if I failed to mention the opening band, Intensity. Though their instrumentals were solid, including an awesome 5 minute drum solo from Donnie Cook and excellent guitar work from their lead guitarist, the singer just wasn’t doing it for me. He came off as very hokey.
Picture this: A short, scrawny Jon Hamm clad in too tight red jeans, black Intensity tee covered by an Ed Hardy long sleeve shirt. On his head he wore sunglasses, a bandana and a one size fits all black baseball cap. Oh and there was gyration. Not just from the singer, but from the 20-something contortionist dancer girl who emerged during their second song from an on stage suitcase dressed as a Victoria’s Secret angel. If you’re reading this and thinking, “what?” Don’t worry, the whole crowd in attendance is with you. That plus the fog machines and old man actor wandering on stage in search of the mechanical bull were just completely unnecessary and reminded me why they were an opening band in the first place. Again, their instrumentals were solid. Maybe they just need to stick with that.
Stryper was a different story. They had no skits, no dancers, and that’s because they didn’t need them. Coming off their latest album The Covering, an album of mostly cover songs of bands like Black Sabbath and Kansas, I’ll admit I was unfamiliar with most of their body of work and original songs. They played mostly original songs and a few covers, but all of it was great. Plus, It’s not often that I can go to a concert with my Dad and we both come out thoroughly enjoying ourselves.
I think it’s great that a band that started 28 years ago (before I was born, mind you) is still playing together in its original line up and still rocking hard after all those years. That’s awesome. So thank you Robert Sweet, Timothy Gaines, Oz Fox and Michael Sweet for sticking around for a whole new generation of fans to enjoy your live show.
Now, there’s not a whole lot more I can say to describe the show, which is fine, since I have video evidence, which is much better than whatever I have to say. I just want to say that their guitars were really cool. What Def Leppard is to Black and White and the British flag, Stryper is to Black and Yellow. Bassist Tim Gaines had a bass neck with no head. The tuners must have been on the back. All three guitars were decked out in different variations of black and yellow and, well, stripes of course. So, without further adieu, here’s a video of Stryper at the Canyon Club. Enjoy!