Photos: Joe Schaeffer
I find it a bit ironic that thirty years ago Vixen was struggling with a misogynist market that just refused to give an all female band any consideration. It's my opinion that Vixen was one of the best bands to come out of the Sunset Strip at the time. I'm still a huge a fan and I still play their music often. So, from this point on I refuse to even concern myself with their gender. They're a great band...Nuff' said.
I've been a fan of Vixen since their debut album back in 1988 when the video for "Edge Of A Broken Heart" was in heavy rotation on MTV. I immediately loved their songs and presentation. The band released their follow up album "Rev It Up" in 1990 which was soon followed by a world tour opening for Kiss and Deep Purple as well as their own headlining shows. Unfortunately, due to musical differences the band split up in 1991.
The Whisky in West Hollywood was packed as the band hit the stage. Opening with "Rev It Up" the crowd was eagerly awaiting and definitely fired up for this show. Following the opening with the single "How Much Love" from the second album, it quickly became apparent that this is a band of seasoned players. Vocalist Janet Gardner has a fantastic voice and she immediately takes control of the show. Engaging every member of the audience, it's obvious she's being doing it a long time. The rhythm section of bassist Share Ross and drummer Roxy Petrucci are solid and keep the foundation strong. Newcomer Britt Lightning rounds out the quartet and she's one hell of a guitarist.
The band was aware of the audience and consistently kept them engaged. One of the highlights for me was the band "jamming" a bit in the middle of the song "I Want You To Rock Me", incorporating "Perfect Strangers" by Deep Purple and The Beatles classic "Come Together." The show was extremely well rehearsed. Bassist Share Ross taking over lead vocals on the Humble Pie classic "I Don't Need No Doctor" hit a sentimental spot for me. I believe the late Steve Marriott is amongst the greatest vocalist in Rock N' Roll and the ladies did the song justice.
Other highlights included "Love Is A Killer" again showcasing Gardner's vocals. Closing the show was one of my personal favorite songs by the band, "Streets in Paradise." Of course the fired up crowd demanded an encore and the band returned to the stage at a very late hour with their biggest hit "Edge Of A Broken Heart."
Vixen was one of the more fun shows I've seen this year. This latest mini tour covered four states (Colorado, Utah, Arizona and California) back to back in four straight nights. In this age of Classic Rock revival shows, Vixen is definitely one of the best bands out there.
Vixen will release “Live Fire” via Rat Pak Records on July 6, 2018. Mixed by Michael Wagener, “Live Fire” features 12 live tracks and was recorded at Chicago's legendary Arcada Theater during the group’s successful 2017 tour. In addition to the classic Vixen songs, the effort also includes a newly recorded studio version of “You Ought to Know by Now”, an all new studio acoustic version of their hit song “Edge of a Broken Heart” and a live version of a previously unreleased track called “Big Brother”.
Janet Gardner – Vocals, Share Ross – Bass, Roxy Petrucci – Drums and Britt Lightning – Guitar
Rev It Up
How Much Love
One Night Alone
I Want You to Rock Me (including Perfect Strangers & Come Together)
I Don't Need No Doctor
Love Is a Killer
You Oughta Know By Now
Love Made Me
Streets in Paradise
Edge of a Broken Heart
All Images © Joe Schaeffer Photography 2018
Complete album can be found here:
Photos: Joe Schaeffer
As the old saying goes, "good things come to those who wait." A reunion show featuring guitarist Punky Meadows and vocalist Frank DiMino of the 70's classic rock band ANGEL was long overdue but well worth the anticipation.
For those who are unfamiliar with ANGEL, the band released six albums on Casablanca Records from 1975 to 1980. Much like their label mates KISS, an ANGEL concert was one of the most spectacular shows of the 1970's. Donned in all white costumes and combined with the use of magic effects like the band mysteriously appearing and disappearing from the stage. Their image pioneered the Hair Metal movement of the 1980's but without the advantage of MTV (which had not been created yet), the band struggled to become a household name. They constantly toured America and built up a loyal fan base. Problems within Casablanca Records led to poor support of the band and ANGEL eventually disbanded in 1981.
DiMino released his first solo album "Old Habits Die Hard" in 2015 and Meadows released his debut "Fallen Angel" the following year. Both men made guest appearances on each other's albums, which led to them reunite for a tour performing ANGEL material for the first time in almost four decades.
The Whisky was packed with diehard fans as the band opened the show with "On the Rocks" from the "On Earth As It In Heaven" album. The band did a great job of representing material from all five ANGEL albums. My personal favorites were "Cast the First Stone" also from the "On Earth" album and "Bad Time" from "Sinful." Meadows solo reminded me of why he's one of my favorite guitarists. One of the highlights of the show was the performance of "The Fortune" from the second album "Helluva Band." It's the first ANGEL song I ever heard on a radio station here in Los Angeles upon its release in 1976. The song featured a fantastic keyboard intro by Charlie Calv and DiMino's vocals sounded as solid and fresh as when I first heard him perform the song at a midnight ANGEL concert that same year.
The first thing that hit me and it hit me hard was how powerful and tight the band were. Meadows and DiMino assembled a group of seasoned professionals who knew the material and performed it superbly. This was evident on songs like "Can You Feel It" and Feelin' Right." The set also featured a few songs from both DiMino and Meadows solo albums. I really enjoyed "Never Again" by DiMino and "Straight Shooter" by Meadows. They also covered the Mott the Hoople classic "All the Young Dudes." Closing with "Rock and Rollers" from their debut album, the crowd was still enthusiastic after a two hour set. Of course the band returned for an encore with "The Tower" much to the crowd's delight.
I was fortunate to have seen ANGEL at least a half a dozen times back in the 1970's. I won't ramble on how I feel that the band should have been one of the biggest bands in Rock N' Roll...but they should have! Their music is still available and I highly recommend all of their albums. Unfortunately there isn't any concert footage available of the original band. Did I enjoy this performance by TWO of the original members of ANGEL? Let's just say it was definitely well worth the wait...
Frank Dimino - Vocals, Punky Meadows - Lead Guitar, Danny Farrow Anniello - Rhythm Guitar, Steve Ojane– Bass, Billy Orrico – Drums, Charlie Calv – Keyboards
On the Rocks
Can You Feel It
Wild and Hot
Rockin' in the City
Cast the First Stone
Don't Leave Me Lonely
Lost and Lonely
I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore
All the Young Dudes
Got Love If You Want It
Anyway You Want It
Rock & Rollers
All Images © Joe Schaeffer Photography