THE WINERY DOGS
The Chameleon Club – Lancaster, PA
August 4, 2013
Review by Marcy J Royce
It was not just another one of those shows. You know, the show where you walked in and knew what the night sorta would be like. I walked into The Chameleon Club in Lancaster, PA with a completely open mind to this new powerhouse group dubbed THE WINERY DOGS.
When I told friends I was going to check out this new trio, they thought “oh yeah, you like wine and you like dogs… that’s why you’re going.” Well, not exactly. You see, I’m a child of 80’s and 90’s music and when you place these three heavy hitters in one solid band, it’s bound to be a match made in heaven. Yep, it sure was for me! The chemistry of Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater, Billy Sheehan of Mr. Big, and Richie Kotzen of Poison/Mr. Big was completely revealed by the end of their set.
Their new self titled cd was released on July 23, 2013. And a tour followed suit to show how much these guys are going to grab the industry by the balls and rip up the stereotypes of their peers. THE WINERY DOGS jumpstarted their grip to visit the masses in July overseas. U.S. fans were rabid for them to return to our soil. When they did, the first place to feel the froth was New York City at the famed B.B. Kings. I knew some people who saw that show and had nothing but accolades for their performance. So I was ready to have my choker chain yanked by them.
As I readied myself to photograph these guys, the crowd and myself began to get really eager for the set to kick off with the stellar song, Elevate. Don’t for one darn minute let your mind think that these veterans of the stage would act their age. Sheehan was energetic and entertaining, smiling and engaging with the crowd constantly. Kotzen belted lyrics like they were home runs all the while nailing each note on his guitar. And Portnoy, well… Portnoy is Portnoy. If you know drummers you know what Portnoy can deliver. Hard hitting, solid delivery, high energy are key elements of what made me take notice early on. Portnoy also had superb engagement with fans this night from the first level all the way to the third level. With these three, the bark and the bite are equally enthralling.
These guys performed all the tracks from their debut album this night. That is what shined the most, the innovative presentation and the radio deserving songs that are sure to become quick hits. It’s raw, pure and exceptional rock and roll at its finest. No matter if the song was slow or fast tempo, each one left you toe tapping and head bopping leading you to want more and more. This is what true rock and roll is all about! All the songs left such an impression on me that I just couldn’t wait to listen to their cd again on my way home. The stage was set simplistically with their gear, a watered down version as to what I’m sure they are accustomed. All that doesn’t matter when you blend these three genre leaders into this group. The technical superiority just takes center stage. While the lighting is not impressive at this venue, I captured the essence of each member. Check out my photos: THE WINERY DOGS Photos
As I traveled home listening to their cd, I paired my visual memory of the show with each track I heard. A joy to relive the entire night. I’ve reviewed and photographed many bands in my last few years with away-team.com and I can honestly say that THE WINERY DOGS are in my top 5 bands to go see again and again. I say with conviction they are the remedy to what needs to be in today’s music. Melding past with present, lyrically and musically. A strong backbone fused with melodical mastery.
I already know that they are booked on the 2014 Monsters Of Rock Cruise. And I just know, without a single doubt in my mind, this tantalizing trio WILL BE the group that everyone will be talking about. But why wait until next year??? Check their schedule for the city nearest to you AND GO!!! Case in point: I have a friend in radio and she and I were talking about this show and she told me a venue near her inquired to her about these guys. Asking her what her opinion was about them, could he get enough people to fill his place. Emphatically I exclaimed “HELL YES!” She asked her listeners via Facebook if they would attend THE WINERY DOGS show. An overwhelming amount said yes. This may very well be the beginning of a “Dog Domination.” (They can quote me on that in the future, lol).
Setlist for Lancaster:
We Are One
One More Time
Six Feet Deeper
The Other Side
You Saved Me
Stand (Poison cover)
You Can’t Save Me
Shine (Mr Big Cover)
I’m No Angel
Fooled Around & Fell In Love (Elvin Bishop Cover)
Watch Elevate video:
Buy their cd at:
The Winery Dogs on Amazon
A huge thank you to my gal Amanda for this opportunity involving me and the away-team. She’s my go-to gal for so much.
The Winery Dogs
The Chameleon Club
Photos: Marcy J Royce
July 31, 2013 –THE WINERY DOGS (@TheWineryDogs) is sending a huge thank you to their loyal fans in North America for giving their critically-acclaimed self-titled debut album a strong debut on the Billboard charts. Not only did it explode onto the “Top Rock Chart” at #5, it also opens on the “Top 200 Albums” chart at #27.
The power trio–Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Avenged Sevenfold), Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big) and Richie Kotzen (Mr. Big, Poison)—self-produced THE WINERY DOGS, which was released July 23 on Loud & Proud Records. The album has been hailed as “…one of the most intriguing releases of the year” by Loudwire.com, and in a recent reader’s poll on Revolver magazine’s website, fans called it their “Album of the Week.”
Success hasn’t been limited to the U.S. shores. THE WINERY DOGS recently kicked off their first-ever tour in Japan and South America to sold-out crowds wherever they played. After one more stop in Buenos Aires on August 1, they’ll head home for their first U.S. shows, starting August 3 in New York City at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill. While they’re in town, THE WINERY DOGS will appear on “The Artie Lange Show,” which will air Monday, August 5 at 10pm ET on DirectTV and is streamed live on the show’s website. On Tuesday, August 6 at 7pm, the band will take part in an in-store signing session at Vintage Vinyl in Fords, NJ. For more information, visit www.vvinyl.com.
Once the first leg of their U.S. trek concludes on August 8, Portnoy, Sheehan and Kotzen will take a much-deserved break before heading back overseas for their first shows in Europe throughout most of September, which will include stops in England, Germany, Spain, Italy and Portugal. The U.S. tour will start up again on October 3 in Agoura Hills, CA at the Canyon Club.
Meanwhile, THE WINERY DOGS will guest on the nationally syndicated radio show, “Rockline,” with host Bob Coburn on Wednesday, August 14 at 8:30pm PT/11:30pm ET. Fans are encouraged to speak with the band that night by calling 1-800-344-ROCK (7625). The show will be streamed on Rocklineradio.com for two weeks beginning the afternoon after the live broadcast.
Check out THE WINERY DOGS at any of the following U.S. tour stops:
DATE CITY VENUE
Sat 8/3 New York, NY B.B. King Blues Club and Grill
Sun 8/4 Lancaster, PA Chameleon Club
Tue 8/6 Fords, NJ Vintage Vinyl (in-store)
Wed 8/7 Newton, NJ The Newton Theater
Thu 8/8 Chicago, IL Reggie’s Rock Club
Thu 10/3 Agoura Hills, CA Canyon Club
Fri 10/4 Las Vegas, NV Vamp’d
Sat 10/5 San Diego, CA Romana Mainstage
Sun 10/6 San Juan Capistrano, CA Coach House
Tue 10/8 Sacramento, CA Harlow’s
Wed 10/9 San Francisco, CA Yoshi’s
The Winery Dogs
The Winery Dogs
Loud & Proud Records
Rating: 11 out of 10
Release Date: 7/23/13
Yes, you did read that right, 11 out of 10, we broke the scale on this one! The word triumvirate is often defined as a “rule of three”, in this case it’s “three that rule”. Guitarist and vocalist Ritchie Kotzen (Mr. Big/Poison), bassist Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big), and drummer Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater/Avenged Sevenfold) have long been considered three of the finest at their respective crafts, so it’s no surprise that when their talents collide we are left with nothing less than an Album of the Year contender.
From the opening riff of “Elevate”, you realize that this is going to be one of those albums where one can’t help but “feel” the music. A blues rooted rocker with a hint of Nugent-meets-Wolfmother, this opening track is just a pre-cursor of what’s to come. From “Desire” to “The Other Side” to “Regret”, the entire album is riddled with screaming, yet soulful guitar, pulse-pounding drums, killer vocals, and bass lines that would make Geddy Lee blush!
With such a great collection of musical genius, it’s hard to pick a favorite. There are, however, some highlights that cannot go unmentioned. One such highlight is “The Other Side”, which begins with Portnoy’s drums launching into a finger bleeding bass line from Sheehan, climaxing with Kotzen’s guitar solo, at which point he releases inner Eddie Van Halen.
Kotzen then takes that same style and melds it into “One More Time”. Yet another reminder that these guys are a force to be reckoned with, this track bears hints of Eric Johnson meets Van Halen’s “Eruption”. On the track “Six Feet Deeper” Portnoy’s drumming channels the spirit of the late, great, John Bonham. “Damaged” and “Not Hopeless” are two more favorites of mine that highlight just how much Kotzen’s voice sounds like that of one of rock’s greatest voices, Chris Cornell.
Perhaps the coolest song on the album is “Time Machine”. This track has a conceptual feel to it, in that it begins sounding very much like a modern day Alice In Chains tune, and transforms as we travel time, into some good old fashioned 80’s guitar power rock! Last, but certainly not least, the album culminates with “Regret”; a true blues based rock track that summons the air guitar and serves as a reminder that “blues gave birth to rock ‘n roll”, making our only regret not pressing the “Repeat All” button.
Every album has one or two band members on it that truly stand out, but The Winery Dogs smash that theory to pieces with their debut album. If you love blues-based power rock, July 23rd should be like Christmas morning for audiophiles everywhere. Hands down, the best album of 2013!!!
What are you waiting for??? Click here to pre-order The Winery Dogs debut album, and find out when they’ll be coming to your town to blow your mind in person!
Elm City Music
6 out of 10
Having heard great things about Mike Portnoy’s new project Adrenaline Mob, and then hearing the early reviews of their debut album Omerta, I really wanted to like this album. I was hoping it would just knock my socks off and fully expected it to just based on the hype surrounding its release.
And it almost did. Almost. It’s heavy, crunchy, well played, but it’s just not quite there. I think vocally is where it suffers the most for me. As each song starts I feel myself getting into the groove of it, and then Russell Allen’s vocals kick in, and it just loses its flavor to me. Not that Russell has a bad voice, it suits the music and songs well, but to me it is a little one sided. And each song comes off wholly similar to the last. Then when the solo kicks in and it is just the music I can get lost in it again, until Russell returns.
It is close. It really is. Maybe with them working together a little more the writing will shift and broaden, and vocally he may have the ability to change it up a bit. The whole album comes off very frenetic. And while that isn’t something that can be considered a wholly negative aspect, there isn’t much of a tempo change between songs. So the album kicks off, and you’re going 150MPH from the start. Great way to begin, but if you don’t slow it down a bit, bring it back up, push a little harder, lay off again, and push forward, then the listener isn’t so much taken for a rider as they are just hanging on. I’m not talking ballads here, it just seems every song but the cover has the same tempo and feel to it. Like Russell’s vocals a little one dimensional.
Yes, there’s Angel Sky, a much slower (ballad?!?!) paced song, and Russell’s vocals are actually better on this song than most of the album. A nice changeup from the dizzying tempo of the rest of the album, which I think accentuates my point entirely.
As much as I hate to say it, the best song on the album is a cover of Duran Duran’s Come Undone with some vocal help from Lzzy Hale of Halestorm. For several reasons this comes off as the strongest song. The change up of tempo, the slightly slower pace (though certainly beefed up from the original), the added vocals, and the overall feel of the song makes this something that AM should look at when the writing sessions begin for album number two.