The Winery Dogs, Music’s New Unstoppable Force!
The hurricane that just blew through Los Angeles was like no other, it was the new Super Group, The Winery Dogs.
Photos by Roc Boyum for LA Metal Media
On Saturday, November 6, 2015, as the Winery Dogs took the stage at the Saban Theater in Los Angeles in support of their latest release Hot Streak, there was the sense that this was going to be a night unparalleled and unlike any other night of music in the LA Music Scene. The music scene here in Los Angeles has taken a heavy blow with the recent closing of the Iconic House of Blues in West Hollywood leaving only a handful of venues for great live music.
Fortunately, for the City of Angels and all the music lovers, musicians and music aficionados, venues like the Saban Theater are still alive and well.
The Winery Dogs are being heralded as the new “Super Group” and the term pales in comparison to the actual incredible talent and immense proficiency of this amazing band. One of the most unique things about this band is that they are truly serious musicians, who do not take themselves seriously. The Winery Dogs are the trio of Mike Portnoy (drums), Billy Sheehan (bass) and Richie Kotzen (guitar and vocals). With this level of musicianship you know you are going to see an incredible show, but what you do not expect is the level of entertainment with comedic moments that keep the crowd completely engaged throughout the evening. They probably have more fun onstage while kicking serious ass, then any other band you will see out on tour.
On this night in Los Angeles, as Richie described the band’s first night playing together in his garage for a jam session, he said all the band members really felt there was a chemistry between them. By the end of their jam they had a few skeletons of songs put together and they became really excited about recording a full length LP.
In an interview with RockRevolt Magazine Richie Kotzen talks about power trios and describes the band:
“Well, the power trio format has been my format forever. So, doing this with Billy and Mike is very natural for me and very comfortable. Basically, when the band formed, they had approached me through a friend of ours, Eddie Trunk… When you hear the bass, you know it’s Billy Sheehan. When you hear the drums, you know it’s Mike Portnoy playing. I think that is very cool. It’s a record with three individuals, and nobody really gets lost. Everybody’s identity is still intact.”
There is something so unique and organic about their songwriting that translates into a mesmerizing night of live music. The crowd of the Saban was on their feet and transfixed for the entire show. The band exploded on stage with their first song Oblivion from their second CD “Hot Streak” which set the tone for the extraordinary night ahead.
The band played an equal amount of songs from both their self titled first LP and their second LP, Hot Streak which gave this night many highlights.
One of the evening’s highlights was the anticipated drum solo from Mike Portnoy. His drum set with single head toms sounded absolutely amazing and he even had the now famous Hello Kitty mini drum set; which he completely trashed by the end of his solo. Portnoy’s incredible chops are always great to watch and the humor of walking around on stage playing the stage floor, mic stands and anything else he could assault with his sticks just made his solo that much more enjoyable.
Following the incredibly entertaining drum solo, another highlight was the song off the new Hot Streak LP, Ghost Town which is a great track and definitely a fan favorite. However, the audience was not prepared for what came next, an amazing bass solo by Billy Sheehan. Anybody who is familiar with Sheehan’s playing knows he is an awesome player but what caught many people off guard was how absolutely incredible and over the top his solo was. The audience was witness to the stunning prowess of bass playing to a level that many did not even believe was possible with the instrument. Even if you are a fan of such great bass players as Jaco Pastorius or Stanley Clarke, this solo will shred your head. This solo is something you have to see to believe, it is that amazing!
With the absolutely soulful and powerful vocals being handled by Richie Kotzen, this was the musical icing on the cake. On the ballad Fire , off the new CD Hot Streak, he hypnotized the audience with his powerful vocals. Throughout the night Richie delivered amazing incredible high notes and powerful soulful lows and was supported by harmonies and backup vocals by Portnoy and Sheehan creating the illusion that there were many more voices on stage. His vocals are a bit Paul Rogers, David Coverdale and Chris Cornell. As he painted the musical landscape with his voice and lyrics he also completely broke the boundaries with his truly amazing guitar work; then throw piano into the mix and you have an incredibly gifted Vocalist and Musician. Kotzen is a perfect compliment to Portnoy and Sheehan making the Winery Dogs a band you absolutely do not want to miss live.
The final song of the evening was Desire which had the entire audience singing along as the night came to an end. A truly epic finale to an incredible night of music.
Also be sure to pick up their latest CD here:
Check out their video Oblivion which is nominated for the top Video on the “Loudwire Video Countdown”
For their 2016 live dates check the link below:
Also be sure to check the photo Gallery below, (photos by Roc Boyum)
We Are One
The Other Side
I’m No Angel