CD Reviews

Vixen - 'Live In Sweden' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     April 09, 2014    
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Recorded at the Sweden Rock Festival in 2005.

When friends first told me about this, I wasn't sure whether it was the 'official' Vixen or whether they mistakenly meant JSRG; once I realised it was recorded back in June 2005 the answer was obvious. But for anyone still unsure, the line up performing here was the Vixen incarnation where the only original member from their famous 1980s heyday was founder Jan Kuehnemund. This obviously gives this release added poignancy given she sadly passed away last October after losing her battle against cancer. The line up on display here consists of Kuehnemund (guitar), Jenna Sanz-Agero (vocals), Lynn Louise Lowrey (bass) and Katrina Kraft (drums).

Although this is listed as the first and only Vixen live album, the majority of it has already been previously released in 2006 under the title of 'Extended Versions' (although that was an import for the UK). Out of the fourteen tracks on 'Live In Sweden', eleven appeared on that earlier album.

Given this was recorded at the Sweden Rock Festival, I doubt it will come as a shock that the set/track listing reads like a greatest selection with a few "new" (at the time) songs thrown in that eventually appeared on 2006's 'Live And Learn'. All the expected Vixen classics are here such as 'Rev It Up', 'Streets In Paradise', 'Love Is A Killer', 'Cryin'' and 'Edge Of A Broken Heart'. There's also room for my personal favourite 'How Much Love' as well as 'Not A Minute Too Soon' which was surprisingly omitted from '...Versions'.

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Along with a fine assortment of Vixen hits, the performance itself is pretty good although if I am honest it doesn't live up to the jaw dropping Firefest show from JSRG. The highlight is undoubtedly the axe work from Kuehnemund who plays a blinder throughout and is the star of the show. Gina Stile (JSRG) did a great job replicating her sound but Kuehnemund does give the songs that something extra special. Vocally it's the opposite; Sanz-Agero has a strong voice that fits the material well, but there's times when she just doesn't have "the balls" of JSRG and long term Vixen singer Janet Gardner who blew me away at Firefest. On the technical front, there's a nice balance between the band themselves and between them and the crowd.

'Live In Sweden' will certainly be of interest to long term Vixen fans, especially those that don't own '...Versions'. Those into female fronted Rock/Metal may also want to take a look especially given it features all the bands hits. It not a classic live album, but it's still a fine listen and stands as a fitting tribute and testament to the abilities of Kuehnemund.

Dave Scott

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