Along with Artificial Agent, rock legends Stryper hit Detroit to celebrate the 30 anniversary of their hit album To Hell With the Devil.

Starting the night were hometown favorites Artificial Agent. Hailing from Detroit, Derek Jendza (vocals), Brad Jendza (bass), Mike Elgert (guitar), and Karl Crafton (drums) have put a modern take to old school hard rock. Sharing the stage with acts such as Vince Neil, Eagles of Death Metal, Warrant, Poison, Ace Frehley, Alice Cooper, and several appearances with Steel Panther, this band has gained a huge following.

The crowd was already cheering as Artificial Agent opened their set with “Psychomotor Agitation,” a pure rock anthem with an incredibly catchy chorus. They are dynamic on stage, engaging the crowd before the first chorus hit. Derek Jendza prowled around the stage, snarling the vocals; his manic stage presence matches the band’s punchy heavy attitude.
Brad Jendza leered over the crowd, his thumping bass mixed with an old school groove that gives the band their swagger. Elgert stood statuesque behind his mic, letting his furious guitar do all the talking. All the while, Crafton was pure energy behind the drums, keeping the backbeat flowing and driving the band forward.

Artificial Agent delighted fans with the set selection. From the charging and gritty “How To Be Evil,” the punk infused “Attention Whore,” and “Torched” a punchy song full of guitar riffs and attitude, the fans got a heavy dose of their favorite songs. He band also paid tribute to one of their big influences, covering Motley Crue’s “Come On And Dance.”
Artificial Agent had the crowd captivated from start to finish with their aggressive and boisterous sound and presence. Having seen them many times all over the Detroit area, this reporter was already excited to see them, and they did not let me down. They are a fun act, one not to miss.
Their album Brain Grenade is available on iTunes and Amazon.

The crowd was electric as a screen lowered, showing a short documentary with Michael Sweet, telling the story of Stryper and To Hell With the Devil. With a roar of applause, “Abyss” began to play, the screen rose and The Yellow and Black Attack launched into “To Hell With the Devil.” It was fantastic to see the original lineup together. Oz Fox (guitar/vocals) towering to the right, Timothy Gaines (bass/vocals) grinning ear to ear on the left, Robert Sweet (drums) positioned at his tower, facing sideways as always, and Michael Sweet (vocals/guitar) standing front and center.
Formed in 1983 as Roxx Regime, the band soon changed their musical message to reflect their Christian beliefs, and the band’s name was changed to Stryper. Known as pioneers of Christian heavy metal, the band is currently on tour to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their most popular album, To Hell With the Devil. Sweet greeted and thanked the crowd profusely, and said that to commemorate this occasion, they would be playing the album in its entirety, before jumping into “Calling on You” and the incredibly popular anthem “Free,” and their best known power ballad “Honestly.”

Michael Sweet commanded the show, his voice just as strong and soaring as ever. The band’s sound was powerful and as sharp as they were 30 years ago; the guitar harmonies between Sweet and Fox were astounding, showcasing the talent that made them such a huge band. Stryper tore through the rest of the album, fans loving the chance to see “The Way,” “Sing-Along Song,” “Holding On,” “Rockin’ the World,” and “All of Me.”
After finishing with the finale track “More Than a Man,” the band then took a quick break and returned with a thunderous set of Stryper’s greatest hits including “Yahweh,” “Revelation,” “In God We Trust,” and “Surrender” before ending with one of their biggest hits, “Soldiers Under Command.”

They returned once more with the final encore, “Makes Me Wanna Sing,” to the crowd cheering at a now ear-splitting level.
On the last leg of their tour, Stryper has shown us again why they stand the test of time. Their music is profound, their live shows are amazing, and these talented musicians are stronger than ever, continuing to make music today.

Their sixteenth album Fallen (released in October), is available on Amazon and iTunes.

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Artificial Agent
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Saint Andrew’s Hall
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Event Date: 16-Nov-2016

About The Author

Calling Detroit, Michigan home, Sami has been photographing for many years and has been with National Rock Review since near the beginning. She is a photographer and writer for National Rock Review as well as being the US Marketing Manager, PR Correspondent, and Editor. She also owns her own photography business, Sami Lipp Photography. Capturing the excitement of live music and the passion of musicians is something she lives for. She is excited to grow her career in music photography every day.

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