The Winery Dogs are a melodic hard rock band with a jazzy prog rhythm section and a blues guitar player/soul singer. They are three amazingly talented musicians. I’m quite sure that the stars were in some sort of perfect alignment when they first decided to jam together and form a band.
This is a profound statement: one of the best concerts ever. I knew it would be a good show, but it’s so awesome to be blown away when you least expect it. And to think I hesitated about going – it takes a certain band to get me out on a work night.
I first heard of the Winery Dogs on That Metal Show, when Richie Kotzen was a guest. I bought the self-titled debut album and Desire and Elevate made it to my workout folder. A lot of it is somewhat more prog rock than my normal taste but it works for me – it’s the vocals and melodies that keep me – it all works together perfectly.
I next saw Ritchie Kotzen at the Port of Miami boarding the Monster of Rock Cruise 2014. We didn’t know who he was, but because he was dressed in some white flowing linen pajama things, and with his hair and beard and all, we dubbed him the “Dalai Lama Baby Jesus Dude” ;o). Then we saw him fronting the Winery Dogs at the pool stage, which was a cool show. We saw them again on the MOR Cruise 2015 – where he no longer wore the linen pjs. Both good shows but not like what I saw next…
I was a lucky girl and caught Richie playing at the Lucky Strike Live Jam in Hollywood this past August, when I went to L.A. for the Cathouse Live show. The man played and sang like nobody else – loved it. You can catch some video of that show at California Rock News – a good look-see. What a cool experience it is to watch a bunch of great talent just come out and jam in a cool setting – that place has great atmosphere. If you’re ever out in L.A. on a Wednesday night you should catch one of these jam sessions.
And then there was the show this past Thursday night at the State Theater in St. Petersburg, Florida. The place was packed and appeared to be nearly sold out. The band simply jammed out badass and everyone was really into it, you couldn’t help but be taken in.
Mike Portnoy is one of the most engaging drummers I’ve ever seen – fun to watch interact. I made a note about a song called Empire and then I ended up liking every song I didn’t know. I bought the new album Hot Streak this past weekend and listened to it a few times, and I can say right now that I already like it more than I did the first one. Just listen to the first thirty seconds of Captain Love and tell me you’re not hooked. Love the keyboard and Think It Over.
Ahh, and then the encore. I didn’t know what song they played first but it was beautiful and amazing with Richie on keyboards and feeling it. I learned later it was a song called Regret. I am listening to it right now and wondering how and why did I not pay attention to this song on the first album before? This song was another wow factor, and then they finished up with a blown-away Desire jam. Happy people.
I just went online to see if I could find out anything else interesting – and I did. I found a live recording from a 2013 show in Japan I’ll have to check out. And on Wikipedia it says that Eddie Trunk was the one who recommended Richie to Billy Sheehan and Mike Portney when they were looking for a singer. If this is so, good move, Eddie – thanks.
What I’m trying to gush out here is that this is one of those bands that gives the live experience its total due justice. I LOVE THAT. Thanks, Winery Dogs! And please record another live album ;o)
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