SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL has always been about the music. That’s what got me trekking across the oceans that first time six long years back now. I’ve not missed one since and don’t plan on it anytime soon. The magical music performances are what does it. Sometimes it’s a long defunct band enticed back to the stage by SRF organizers. But sometimes it’s just an old favorite ripping it up in a new setting. That was the case for me here on Friday, June 8, 2018, with VIXEN‘s noon timeslot on The Sweden Stage.
VIXEN – The First Time
I remember the feeling the first time. Relax kids, I’m talking about Vixen, the all-female oft compared to Bon Jovi hard rock band from the late 80s. They were not something that I ever heard on local radio stations up here in the Great White North. Nor did I see the videos being aired on MuchMusic, the Canadian MTV. Thus, I was not overly familiar, only having acquired two albums shortly ahead of the 2013 MORC Pre-Party as a part of my due diligence in learning each band’s material. To be honest, the albums overall didn’t hit a home run with me. I found them too light and too poppy for my tastes. But I checked the ladies out at the MORC Pre-Party, then billed as JSRG, and was blown away. Seriously. An instant fan for life from one show! MORC Daily Diary Fri, March 15th, 2013
VIXEN – Janet Gardner Surgery
From there I would see Vixen every opportunity, which was basically MORC Cruises, M3 Festival and a wicked two-show stint in Toronto. Unfortunately, my Vixen support suffered a casualty this weekend. Due to an airline ticket purchase incident, I ended up living out of only a carry on for my two weeks in Sweden (or pay astronomical baggage fees). With the downsizing of my luggage, my Vixen t-shirt got left behind. This set at Sweden Rock was something new with such a sizeable audience and early stage time. As I expected the ladies rocked another wicked set.
The last time I saw Vixen was on MORC and without frontwoman and vocalist Janet Gardner, who looked extremely well today. She was rushed to hospital in January after a gig supporting her solo album (reviewed by Decibel Geek) in L.A. where Gardner underwent emergency surgery. At the time she posted on her Facebook page: “I was rushed off to the hospital and had to have emergency surgery to remove a subdural hematoma that was putting pressure on my brain. They had to drill a hole into my head to remove the hematoma and put a titanium plate in to cover the hole. I am literally a metal head!”. She appears 100% back on her feet and that’s great to see!
VIXEN – Sweden Rock Festival 2018
The show began in fine form with my fave Vixen fist-pumper “Rev It Up!”. Staying in line with the sophomore Rev It Up album, “How Much Love” was next. Then we had something I’d not heard Vixen do live before (at least I can’t recall) with “One Night Alone” (and it was excellent) ahead of “Cryin'”. Thumping bass and an audience clap-along led off “I Want You To Rock Me” which included a segue into Deep Purple‘s “Perfect Strangers”. Next up, the already sweating under the intense sun Sweden Rock crowd were treated to “Streets In Paradise”.
The lovely Share Ross took vocal control for a cover of “I Don’t Need No Doctor” which I thought was great. Usually, it’s Share singing “Rockin’ In The Free World” for the band’s always included cover song. From there it was a double shot of love with the ballad “Love Is A Killer” and the rocker “Love Made Me”. A previously unreleased track and therefore unheard by me before with “Big Brother” came next. Of course, the girls wrapped up famously with the mega-hit and Richard Marx written “Edge Of A Broken Heart”. Another fantastic set by these ladies that just seem to get better and better each time I see them!
VIXEN – Final Thoughts
I admit I didn’t “get” Vixen before, but live they captivated me. From Gardner‘s incredible vocal tones, Share‘s ultra cool bass moves (I even took a photo of her doing her best Phil Lynott pose on the first MORC), Roxy‘s thundering drumbeats and newcomer Britt Lightning‘s razor riffs, it all comes together perfectly on stage. I can’t wait for the release of their forthcoming live album Live Fire which includes the previously unreleased track, “Big Brother”, that we were treated to here.
See below for Decibel Geek Shawn “Animalize” Irwin‘s photo gallery of Vixen – Sweden Rock 2018 and also three live show videos by “Rockin’ Ron” Runyon.
Also, watch for all our Sweden Rock Festival 2018 coverage on our homepage or through this handy link: Sweden Rock 2018 – Full Coverage