The Winery Dogs ‘Elevate’ Fans in Connecticut
Supergroups are the musical equivalent of putting together a fantasy football team. It always looks good on paper and the concept is simple enough. Start with great talent, hopefully with a history of success, throw them together and magic with ensue. That formula has been used countless times and it has failed almost as many — for the simple reason that they lack chemistry. And then you have The Winery Dogs who have managed to defy the odds by fusing the talents of three virtuoso’s with a healthy dose of chemistry.
Wasting no time at their recent show at the Ridgefield Playhouse in Connecticut, singer-guitarist Richie Kotzen kicked things off in high-gear with ‘Elevate,’ the lead track off of the bands debut record. ‘Criminal’ and ‘We Are One’ kept the energy high and with the exception of slower numbers like ‘Doin’ What the Devil Says To Do,’ the audience stayed off their cushy theater seats and spent the night dancing and singing along to most every song. Providing a visual performance that rivals his superior drum skills Mike Portnoy is part Keith Moon and part John Bonham. He effortlessly keeps the beat while hamming it up for the audience. Add to that the pyrotechnics of Billy Sheehan on bass and it’s hard to tell who in the band is enjoying themselves the most.
There was a time when it seemed that Kotzen would merely be a footnote in the history of Poison. That notion seems ridiculous now. His surprisingly soulful voice sounds even better live. It gives radio friendly songs like ‘I’m No Angel’ and ‘You Saved Me’ a heartfelt sincerity that is refreshing.
It’s hard to believe that this band has been touring for less than a year. Their musical bond is unmistakable as they converge at center stage, facing each other grinning from ear to ear and having the time of their lives. Their excitement is contagious and as the night draws to a close you can’t help but think that this band’s potential is boundless.
Check out photos of The Winery Dogs in Connecticut here: