Stryper is hitting the road for their 25th Anniversary Tour and in support of their new CD, Murder By Pride. They are going to be to visiting 50 US cities and touring through Europe as well. Thursday September 24, 2009 Stryper came to the House of Blues in Cleveland, Ohio and they brought friends.
Stryper had two bands supporting them in Cleveland. Both hail from the Boston area and one of the bands has a Sweet in it. The bands that played in Cleveland are Flight Patterns and Machines of Grace. Manic Drive will be supporting Stryper at other venues.
If there is one thing Flight Patterns has in their favor it’s that Michael Sweet is in the band. Well it’s Michael Sweet Jr. and if he’s got a fraction of his dad’s musical talent then he should go far.
Michael Sweet Sr. introduced Flight Patterns to the rabid Cleveland crowd. With a legend as a father, Michael Jr. has huge shoes to fill. It’s also nice for his band to cut their teeth on a crowd that loves his dad so they will be forgiving if need be.
Flight Patterns is a group of extremely young guys having a good time. They’re a bunch of good looking kids that are finding their way and place in music. This is early in the tour so they were not as confident as they most surely will be at the end. They had a strange stage setup, which may have been dictated by equipment.
Sweet plays guitar and backing vocals and he’s stage left. The lead singer/guitarist is on the right side of the stage with the bass player in the middle. The keyboardist was tucked behind Sweet but the stage at The House of Blues is small so there wasn’t any place else for him to go. The drum kit was as far back as it could go but there wasn’t a lot of space for it.
Flight Patterns did the best they could, but it has to be daunting to be 19 and play in front of a huge crowd. They need to learn from Stryper and Machines of Grace about stage presence. They need to have the confidence it takes to inspire the crowd and get them on your side. The bass player wasn’t doing too badly. He loped around the stage and had some presence there. Once they get the stage presence and confidence down, they will be tighter and even better.
Machines of Grace
Before Machines of Grace took the stage most of the crowd had no clue who they were. By the time they left the stage they owned the crowd.
To say the rocked is an extreme understatement. They are more than just a metal band. They can go a hundred miles an hour no problem. They have a melodic, heavy sound that’s transcends the boundaries metal sometimes puts around lesser bands.
Machines of Grace is made up of metal veterans. The front man, Zachary Stevens, and the drummer, Jeff Plate, played with Savatage and Trans Siberian Orchestra. Steven’s stalked around the stage like he’s lived there his whole life. After the second song they drew the crowd in and they were part of the show. Guitarist Matt Leff played in Wickedwitch with Stevens and Plate. Bassist Chris Rapoza played with Leff in Trigger Effect. Together they are tight and feed from each other.
Flight Patterns and Machines of Grace
The difference between Flight Patterns and Machines of Grace is experience. The members of Machines of Grace have been playing longer than most members of Flight Patterns have been alive. It will be exciting to see the evolution of Flight Patterns. It’s exciting now to experience Machines of Grace.
Looked at in the proper context, Flight Patterns did fine at the House of Blues in Cleveland. There is no doubt that at the end of the tour the will have advanced. On the other hand, Machines of Grace plain out jams. Those lucky enough to catch them will be blown away.