The Winery Dogs have been labeled as one of the most standout hard rock supergroups of the past decade, however the band required no labels during their performance to packed crowd at the House of Blues in Anaheim, California on November 3.
The chemistry between vocalist/guitarist Richie Kotzen, powerhouse percussionist Mike Portnoy and quintessential bassist Billy Sheehan was notably more evident on The Winery Dogs’ sophomore album ‘Hot Streak.’ This fueled the expectations of this sizable audience, however all anticipation would first be stimulated by a performance from Kicking Harold.
These up-and-coming hard rockers are perhaps best known for the song “Gasoline” from the television show ‘Overhaulin,’ however Kicking Harold have also served as the main support for the North American portion of The Winery Dogs’ tour.
The lineup of frontman Tim Kelly, bassist Julia Lage and Michael Odabashian on drums delivered a solid forty-five minute set in support of their latest release ‘Red Light District.’
Familiar listeners found themselves singing alongside the band on selections such as “Kill You” and “Down On You,” whereas the vast majority of the crowd was up in arms and roaring along to a closing rendition of Rush’s “Working Man.” Kicking Harold proved to be a beneficial dose of new talent that left this energetic crowd even hungrier for the evening’s headlining all-star rock trio.
The Winery Dogs’ passion for performing their songs live was evident beginning with two songs off of the ‘Hot Streak’ album, “Oblivion” and “Captain Love.” One foot was planted firmly in the present with another in the past throughout the course of the set, which showed The Winery Dogs splitting the set between both ‘Hot Streak’ and their 2012 self-titled debut.
Mike Portnoy is surely one of the most engaging showmen behind the skins, whose fan friendly demeanor lead to plenty of talking in between songs. Portnoy brings the drum solo to a creative new level by carrying out a three piece ‘Hello Kitty’ drum set, not entirely unlike one you could find in your local supermarket, to the front of the stage. What could be more metal?
Billy Sheehan wielded the bass guitar like some of the virtuosos do the six strings, cranking out bass solos with impressive tone and hand work. When Sheehan begins to cut loose a massive lick in his distinctive fashion (without a pick, might we add), the entire room pays attention. It’s not a bar or bathroom break; instead, it’s a flurry of notes that stop the crowd dead in their tracks.
Richie Kotzen is surely a great attention to the roster; his multi-faceted approach has slight elements of R&B in his vocal delivery and technique on the guitar. Kotzen is also multi-talented, which he proved upon setting down his Fender guitar to hit the keyboards for “Think It Over” and later picking up an acoustic for “Fire.”
As we previously noted, The Winery Dogs are being called a supergroup, however that might not even be the most appropriate description for this thrilling live unit. Whatever seats the venue offered were rarely used during their ninety minute performance, which speaks for the velocity of this formidable compilation of veteran musicians.
The Winery Dogs Setlist 11.03.15 Anaheim, CA House of Blues
We Are One
Think It Over
The Other Side
I’m No Angel
The Winery Dogs