Local Wire

Stryper @ Marquee Theatre

Though it seems most of the indie bands of the '80s disappeared for a while (perhaps waiting for Coachella to offer them a stack of cash to reunite), plenty of rock acts — especially those working during the big hair/power-ballad-as-the-second-single era — have stuck around, playing smaller venues, cruise ships, and off-highway casinos. Stryper, however, was never your average '80s rock act, considering they threw Bibles out to their concert audiences during their heyday and had an album titled To Hell With the Devil. They made the mistake of downplaying the Christian stuff on their first album of the '90s, omitting references to God, getting rid of the yellow and black theme, and having the gall to cover a secular soul hit (Earth Wind & Fire's "Shining Star"), release a greatest hits collection, and and let lead singer Michael Sweet leave the band. But it's hard to ignore the call of the rock: Stryper reunited in 2000 and is on the third album (The Covering) of its second run, taking on songs by Zeppelin and Sabbath and, uh, Boston (featuring an appearance by that band's Tom Scholz). It's far less shocking now to hear bands in the mainstream proclaiming a connection to Jesus as their Lord and savior, but Stryper was there first, freaking out the Christian establishment with its glitzy looks and bare chests, and providing MTV viewers a reason to look up Isaiah 53:5 in their family Bibles.

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Gibson, Dan