When 80’s band Vixen brought their brand of metal to Penns Peak in Jim Thorpe, PA last night, it was less like a throwback reunion and more like an arrival.
The band, which reunited in 2012 before losing guitarist and founding member Jan Kuehnemund to cancer, tore down walls at the Pocono Mountain venue with their catalog of hits and inspired musicianship.
It should be noted that this is not some typical ‘girl’ band. These ladies have been going toe to toe with the big boys of metal for years. Sharing stages with the likes of the Scorpions, Ozzy Osbourne, Bon Jovi, Deep Purple and KISS.
- and at Penns Peak, they showed us why they still can.
Following their signature call to “Rev It Up” – the title track from their 1990 album, Vixen launched into nearly an hours worth of glam metal goodness. Giving fans a nice taste from Rev It Up as well as their 1988 self-titled debut album.
Vocalist/guitarist Janet Gardner sounds insanely good - hitting every note with the same reckless abandon she did during those infamous “hair-metal” years. At one point, during medley of other 80’s rock hits, Gardner challenged the audience to “finish the sentence” by singing back the second part of the choruses she sang. A challenge the audience enthusiastically proved it was more than up to!
Roxy Petrucci, having recently returned from Sweden after performing with her other 80’s rock band Madam X, is unquestionably one of the best rock drummers around – putting her heart and soul into every beat that she plays.
Bassist Share Ross shared a hysterical joke with the audience before showcasing her own vocal prowess - a cover of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In A Free World” - (On a side note, the band recently announced via their social media pages that Ross will be joining Def Leppard vocalist Joe Elliott on his side project, “Down N Outz” for a U.K tour this fall).
Guitarist Gina Stile puts so much enthusiasm and energy into her performances that it’s almost infectious. Although no one will ever be able to replace Kuehnemund, Stile carries the torch and Kuehnemund’s energy while still providing her own brand of guitar virtuosity. She’s incredible to watch.
Although each member of Vixen has independently dabbled in various side projects of their own over the years, it’s the chemistry of these four musicians together that makes the band an absolute must see.
Following a performance of their biggest hit, Edge Of A Broken Heart, Vixen came together center stage for a final bow to the audience – a promise that this was only the beginning.
“Rock” and “love” seemed to be the theme of the evening at Penns Peak, as many of the songs the band performed had those words within them. As a fan of the band from their very first album I can safely say that the Vixen spirit is back stronger than ever.
And I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Vixen Set List (Jim Thorpe, PA)
Rev It Up
How Much Love
I Want You To Rock Me
Streets In Paradise
Rockin’ In The Free World (Neil Young Cover)
Love Is A Killer
Love Made Me
Edge Of A Broken Heart