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Articles Home » Music Reviews » Janet Gardner Live Show Review Planet Janet Rocks The Vault Greasy Luck Brewpub
Janet Gardner Live Show Review Planet Janet Rocks The Vault Greasy Luck Brewpub

Janet Gardner Live Show Review

Planet Janet Rocks The Vault

Greasy Luck Brewpub, New Bedford, MA

October 29, 2018

By Nina McCarthy



The opening band canceled a couple hours before the show due to illness, so let’s get right into the reason I headed to New Bedford on this Saturday night, Janet Gardner.  Gardner is the legendary lead vocalist of the rock band Vixen.  Teaming up with her husband and “love of her life” guitarist/songwriter/producer Justin James, she ventured into writing a full length self titled solo album which was released August 18, 2017 via Pavement Entertainment.  This album exploded overnight and became one of my immediate favorites of 2017.  Both Gardner and James wrote and produced the album together, allowing them total freedom. The album has some of the old school characteristics similar to Vixen, but with a blend of modern hard rock that makes you want to bang your head, along with a sprinkle of their sensitive sides. Accompanied by Anthony Gemignani on bass and Rich Rivera on drums, I was extremely excited to hear some of the songs I had come to love.


Hearing ticket sales were low, I was a little worried about the night but selfishly happy to have room to be close and personal and dance. Unfortunately, this time around, on this same night Steel Panther was a short distance away in Providence RI, Kid Rock in Mansfield, MA, and Michael Sweet just over the border in NH.  However, this did not take away from Janet singing, or the band playing, as if there were 1000 people there.  The more casual atmosphere actually allowed time for some joking and some picture taking by fans of themselves with Janet during the set.  Janet also had time to make fun of Justin when he broke a guitar string.  Covering several songs on the album along with Vixen’s “Edge of a Broken Heart,” they rocked the small, yet mighty crowd to the core.  The chemistry between Janet and Justin was undeniable.  They fed off each other throughout the set with huge smiles.  Speaking of smiles, Rivera on drums smiled the entire set.  He was a great drummer and fun to watch.  


The set began with the third song off the solo album, “If You Want Me.”  I had listened to the album on my hour ride to The Vault and when “Candle” came on, I lost it and started bawling thinking of my dad, who had passed in August.  Janet said how she had written it thinking of her parents that she had lost close together.  I was a little afraid how I would respond hearing it live this night, but I loved it.  She finally played it half way through her twelve song set.  I shed a few tears but sang along and enjoyed the emotion put into it by Gardner herself.  Tracks “Let It Be Over” and “Best Friend” off the solo album were not played, but it allowed time for a brand new unrecorded song that was beautiful.  The most fun part of the night is when Janet came off stage, roamed around in the crowd singing with everyone and letting people take selfies.  (Apparently I’m on video doing this, and it’s being edited, but I will not be sharing it here.) “Rat Hole,” a song about her frustration with health insurance companies was the first release off the album with an accompanying video, was fun to rock out to live.  The set was concluded with the last song off the CD, “The Good Or The Bye.”  


The entire band went to the merch table to take group pictures with everyone.  I had interviewed Janet before when she was in the area with Vixen, so I was happy to see her again and have a brief moment to speak to her and Justin.  This night had me laughing, in tears, dancing and singing along.  Perfect! I can’t wait until Vixen comes to Mohegan Sun in CT in November and to The Vault in May of 2019. I also can’t wait to the return of Planet Janet again!


(all photos were cell phone pics, pardon the quality)


With my friend’s Catherine and Eric and the band.

Goodbyes with Janet







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