The Winery Dogs made their first of four stops in Florida at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall this past Wednesday. You may not know the name or have heard the music, but you will. This is one super-group for the ages and they have the music power to blow the scene on its head. With legendary musicians like Billy Sheehan (on the bass of course) Richie Kotzen (Guitars / Vocals), and Mike Portnoy (Drums). The special thing about this group is that they have a sound of their own and they own it and rock the hell out it!
The Dogs came out to a roaring applause and lite up the stage with ‘Oblivion‘ , a new song of their new album that was just released Hot Streak (released on Oct 2nd). Oblivion is one of those songs that kick you in the teeth from the get-go, with the masterful bass playing by Billy and crushing drums by Mike. The guys definitely came out swinging to show what they are all about, and the message came out loud and clear. Billy and the guys are masterful at getting you sucked into the song with the catchy tune and lyrics by Richie.
You can really tell the guys have a special chemistry going on as they play on stage, it is like they have been jamming with each other for decades. As they filtered through all the songs of the new album like “Time Machine” and “Empire“, Billy and Richie would feed off each other and trade-off mind melting mini solos throughout the songs that would just make any none musician bow down in “not worthiness”.
Just when you thought you heard it all, Richie busts out a solo acoustic song called “Fire“, in which he asked for a little help with the song as he played it, and the audience excepted the invitation. This song is a slower softer side of The Winery Dogs, but its one that hit you just at the right moment of the set. Richie vocals were spot on the whole night, as well as his playing. He has one of the voice that you will never forget, and you will know it is him once you hear it again.I am not going to lie, but Richie sounds a lot like Chris Cornell of Sound Garden.
Mike is one mean drummer, he really knows his way around a kit.Mike is in full control of all that goes on on stage, and you can tell he is really enjoys what he is doing. The beat he lays down is so good. it is almost magical to watch him play. One of the most memorable things he did was at the end of the show, he grabbed his stool that he sat one and used it to beat the living hell out of the drums and cymbals, it was insane.
Now we have to talk about the bass player from hell, Billy Sheehan. This guy does one of the most mind-melting bass solos you will ever hear or see. He must have been born with a bass in his hand because this can play like no other I have seen. I don’t think there is any other bassist out there that can rip up a bass solo like Billy. Don’t get me wrong Mike and Richie whipped out a couple stunning solos on their own, but it is just something about the way Billy makes sweet bass love to the bass guitar that just makes you gaze in amazement.
The Winery Dogs are really hitting their stride right now. They really have a sound of their own, I would say it is a mixture of funk, rock, blues, grunge and some influences of prog as well. If you get a chance to catch them on this tour, I would highly recommend it. I am sure everyone that saw them the other night at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall will agree that this was one, if not the best show of the year they have seen. I will put my hand up and say it was for me.