December 9, 2017
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Andy Laudano
Photos by Andy Laudano
On a cold December night in Dallas, Janet Gardner, the voice of Vixen, heated things up and rocked The Curtain Club. If you grew up listening to hard rock music in the 80's, you should be very familiar with Gardner and her band Vixen as they had several huge hits from two great albums. Unfortunately the combination of grunge taking over in the 90s and internal problems caused the band to break up way too soon. The original lineup was set to reform in 2013, but founder/guitarist Jan Kuehnemund was diagnosed with cancer and died later that year. The remaining three members would continue on in her honor and continue to tour to this day.
In 2016 Garner married guitarist/songwriter/producer Justin James who has worked with Tyketto, Staind and Collective Soul. Together they recorded Gardner's self titled solo debut and are out on tour in support of it. The songs are heavier with a modern twist, but still contain elements of the sound she is known for. The set would feature most of the new album with a few Vixen classics and fun covers mixed in. The show opened with the hard rocking "If You Want Me," which got a nice response from the crowd. After a few more new songs, Gardner played a song from "that other band I'm in," the title track from Vixen's second album, "Rev It Up."
This was a very intimate show and Gardner spent plenty of time between songs interacting with her fans. Before the song "Candle," she talked about writing the song after losing her parents. During another Vixen song, "Cryin," she left the stage and made her way through the crowd, singing to them up close and sharing the chorus with them. From there she returned to the stage for Vixen's biggest hit song, "Edge of a Broken Heart" and a surprising, but ridiculously fun cover of Cee Lo Green's "Fuck You."
The show came to an close with two more from the new album, the first single, "Rat Hole" and the album closer, "The Good or the Bye." This was a really fun show and Janet sounds better than ever. James is a damn good guitarist and the two have a great natural chemistry together. After the show the band hung around and met with fans inside the club.