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Scottsdale, Ariz. – The all-female band Vixen brought 80s glam-rock back to BLK Live in Scottsdale, AZ on June 16, 2018. The band, according to the Vixen website, is the only all-female 80s band to reach platinum status and have six #1 videos on MTV. Vixen, which disbanded in the early 90s, reunited in 2014 with three of the original members, and has been performing since.
Vixen performed a selection of hits from their first self-titled album Vixen, released in 1988; their Rev It Up album, released in 1990; and a few covers from other rock legends such as The Beatles, Deep Purple and Humble Pie. Vixen’s lead vocalist, Janet Gardner, gave a strong, high energy performance, opening the show with “Rev It Up” from the band’s 1990 album Rev It Up. During the second song, “How Much Love,” newcomer and lead guitarist, Britt Lightning, shredded an incredible guitar solo. Lightning joined Vixen in 2017, replacing Gina Stile.
Throughout the show, Gardner had amazing stage presence and worked the crowd. She shouted from the stage, “Scottsdale, let’s get a lil’ rowdy!” before she performed “One Night Alone.” Then, as she performed the song “Cryin’”, she came down from the stage and walked through the crowd, high-fiving and greeting fans.
When back on stage, she proposed a contest for a free Vixen t-shirt for the first person to jump into BLK Live’s swimming pool. There were a few people sitting on the edge with their feet in the water, but they weren’t fast enough. A single guy at the front of the stage jumped right in fully clothed, holding his beer above his head. Gardner was a bit disappointed her contest didn’t start a pool party frenzy, but she wasn’t going to let that hold her back. As she started into their fifth song “Cruisin’,” Gardner executed a perfect high-kick into the air.
Drummer Roxy Petrucci kept a beat going as they transitioned from one song to the next, keeping the crowd pumped. Her facial expressions complimented the lyrics for each song, as she twirled her drumsticks on the off-beat. She was at the back of the stage, but she did not fade into the background. During the song, “Love Is A Killer,” Petrucci stood up and performed a perfectly executed chime segment on the symbols for the melancholy rock ballad.
There was one song the crowd waited with anticipation to hear, and it was well worth the wait. After they performed a 90-minute set, the ladies left the stage before returning for their encore number, “Edge of a Broken Heart.” This song was written by Richard Marx and Fee Waybill, and was one of two songs to make it into the Top 40 for Vixen in 1988. To make this hit, and the other songs played, sound true to their original tracks, Vixen had Tyson Leslie, the only male on stage, performing on the keyboard.
When Vixen finished their last number, the crowd was wild with excitement. From the set performed by Vixen, to the opening act, the crowd got what they came for; a night filled with 80s rock and strong female vocals.
Arizona local band Dierdre, fronted by female rocker Dierdre Evans, opened the show with a stellar night of rock n’ roll; performing original songs off their album I’ve Come to Life and two cover songs – “Black Dog” by Led Zepplin, and “Down to the Bottom” by Dorothy.
Evans opened the set for Dierdre with the femme fatale track, “Black Widow.” The song featured Evans’ rock-opera vocals, punchy drums played by Dwain Miller, and fast metal riffs played by Michael Arms and Jimmy Caterine on guitars.
Their third song, “Between the Lines,” featured rhythmic guitar and a steady drum beat, which allowed Evans’ voice to carry the songs melody before it entered the gritty chorus. The lyrics entice the listener and ask them, “You know you want it; don’t you?”
Evans’ vocal range stands out and brings distinction to each song. The song “I’ve Come To Life” starts out with her vocals breathless and low, and she sensually raises her vocals until her voice literally ‘comes to life’ when performing the chorus and refrain.
Evans writes all of her own music, and even though she sings the song “Suffer” like a rock and roll angel, it is a badass reminder to whomever inspired this song; she is not taking you back, and will gladly watch you suffer.
Evans mentioned after the show that the band Dierdre has been together for approximately 3 years, and have really enjoyed opening for other bands in the rock genre. Prior to opening for Vixen, Evans said that in just the last six months, Dierdre opened for big-name bands such as Warrant, Quiet Riot, and Candlebox.
Vixen is currently touring, and soon heading overseas to Europe this summer, according to their website. If you need your new Vixen fix, Gardner mentioned the band has a live album being released on July 6th via Rat Pack Records.
Photographer: Mark Greenawalt
Vixen – BLK Live 6-16-18
Photography © Mark Greenawalt. All Rights Reserved