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The Winery Dogs – Islington Academy, London – 5th September 2013

sixxisTonight’s show was opened by The Sixxis. Listening to them they seem an odd choice to support The Winery Dogs as their music has quite a strong Prog feel to it, so I’d have said they’d go down better supporting Mike Portnoy’s other supergroup, Flying Colors, than The Winery Dogs.  Having said that, they are a great band and the almost capacity crowd certainly seemed to enjoy their set.

Sixxis setlist:

Coke Can Steve
Long ago
Nowhere close
Believe
She only
I wanted more
Opportune time
Out alive
Snake in the grass

The Winery Dogs
The Winery Dogs

Tonight though was all about The Winery Dogs – the latest in a long line of “super groups” to appear.  With bands like this things are often fairly hit or miss – some work superbly well and others just feel over-hyped.  Having read the reviews of their debut album though I was certainly looking forward to tonight and expecting good things – check out Planetmosh’s review of the album and see why – http://planetmosh.com/album/the-winery-dogs-the-winery-dogs/
If you don’t know who The Winery Dogs are yet, they are a three-piece band formed by Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Flying Colors, Adrenaline Mob, Transatlantic, Avenged sevenfold – and many more), Billy Sheehan (Mr Big, Talas, David Lee Roth, and more), and Richie Kotzen (Poison, Mr Big, and more).  Between them they’ve been on more album releases than I care to try and count.  So the members all have impressive reputations and track records, but the key question is how they sound together.

Clearly based on the album, a lot of fans were expecting them to sound great – the gig was sold out, and the venue was absolutely jam packed – if you were lucky enough to be near the front ofthe venue, then getting to the back was a massive struggle taking 5 minutes as people were packed in so tightly. As a result, despite the venue air conditioning running at full power it was still pretty damn warm in there.

The band were greeted with huge cheers as they came on stage, and then the band started to play and really gave the fans something to cheer for.  These guys certainly lived up to the “super group” description, and treated us to a great night filled with fantastic rock music.

With only one album out, then you could imagine they might be short of material, but that’s not the case – they’ve all got long careers to pick stuff from.  Tonight then we got the Winery Dogs album in it’s entirety along with a few cover versions from bands including Mr Big, and Poison.  We got a great drum solo from Mike Portnoy, which unlike many drum solos didn’t feel unnecessarily long, and which worked superbly.  We also got a Bass solo from Billy Sheehan.  Normally the very words “Bass solo” are enough to clear a venue and send people stampeding to the bar, and most band’s don’t tend to do them, but Billy Sheehan really showed his talent tonight with an astonishingly good, spellbinding bass solo.  Richie Kotzen too got his turn in the solo spotlight, with a solo acoustic version of “Stand”.

If you haven’t listened to The Winery Dogs yet, then I strongly suggest you go and check them out – they really are a superb band.

The Winery Dogs setlist

Elevate
Criminal
We Are One
One More Time
Time Machine
Damaged
Six Feet Deeper
Mike Portnoy Drum Solo
The Other Side
Billy Sheehan Bass Solo
You Saved Me
Not Hopeless
Stand
You Can’t Save Me
Shine
I’m No Angel
The Dying
Regret

Encore:
Fooled Around And Fell In Love
Desire

About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.
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