The Winery Dogs
at the Bergen PAC:

Supergroup Opens a New Tour
and Pours Out the Power in New Jersey

A SoundPress.net Feature Article by Rich and Laura Lynch

The Winery Dogs are a super group with a super pedigree. This alpha power trio is Richie Kotzen (guitar/lead vocals), Mike Portnoy (drums/backing vocals) and Billy Sheehan (bass/backing vocals). Their self-titled debut released in 2013 was a mixed breed of classic and contemporary hard rock. It received rave reviews. The Winery Dogs will be on the road this spring and summer in continued support of the record. Their first stop on this leg of the tour was at the bergenPAC in Englewood, New Jersey on April 30, 2014.

The Winery Dogs at the Bergen PAC - Supergroup Opens a New Tour and Pours Out the Power in New Jersey
The Winery Dogs kicked off their most recent leg at the bergenPAC in Englewood, New Jersey.

The stage set-up was simple with limited gear, lighting and their logo. Yet as the show unfolded it was clear that The Winery Dogs don't need to do tricks as their technical prowess dominated the set. As a trio they are tight yet each player staked their musical territory with Kotzen's versatile vocals capping it all off. The straight-forward power trio approach is appealing to a wide range of people and SoundPress.net noted quite a few young adults in the audience on Wednesday night.

As the band took the dark stage a drum roll filled the theater. The Winery Dogs roared into action with a high energy version of "Elevate" followed by the stirring "We Are One". The pairing was a one two punch of power and precision. "Time Machine" blended catchy hooks in a heavy rock format with Mike keeping thunderous time on the drums. "Damaged" moved from melodic to a might howl.

"Six Feet Deeper" dug deep into hard rock terrain that expanded into Jimi Hendrix's "Hey Joe". "The Other Side" flowed on reflective lyrics in a full bodied brawl of fast riffs and rhythms countered by subtler moments. Next, Billy Sheehan took center stage. His bass solo was a blend of innovative techniques where in an instant his fingers were flying then sort of walking over the strings. With a tap of a peddle his tone changed in conjunction with more agile approaches to the instrument.

The Winery Dogs at the Bergen PAC - Supergroup Opens a New Tour and Pours Out the Power in New Jersey
It's a Dog's life back on the road and making music in 2014.

"Not Hopeless" had a fighting spirit advising fans to "come on pick yourself up, off the floor". The riveting rocker flowed into the reflective "Doing What The Devil Says To Do" that showcased Richie on an acoustic guitar. This gentler moment captured Kotzen's expressive vocal range. Switching back to an electric but sticking with an insightful mood The Winery Dogs uncorked another hard rocker with an animated "I'm No Angel".

They closed the set with the dynamic "Desire". Returning for their encore The Winery Dogs put a bold spin on the Motown classic "Reach Out I'll Be There". They also covered Gary Wright's "My Love Is Alive" during the night continuing their assault on rock music's back catalogue that they began last summer. What is interesting is that for a three-piece unit they are ably tackling songs originally performed by larger groups with very pleasing results.

Moving to the keyboards, Richie crafted a softer sound for the opening of "Regret" eventually soaring on the electric guitar as the song expanded. Billy Sheehan lead the trio through the furious paced "Shy Boy" to end the show on a stellar note and sending the crowd back into the monsoon with ringing ears and smiling faces.

One final note about The Winery Dogs - they are a stand up band. From the moment they took the bergenPAC stage the audience were on their feet and didn't sit once during the nearly two-hour performance. The same phenomenon occurred last year at their appearance in Newton. It's not everyday you see this type of loyalty from concert attendees proving that The Winery Dogs are fast becoming the fan's best friend.

The Winery Dogs at the Bergen PAC - Supergroup Opens a New Tour and Pours Out the Power in New Jersey

The Winery Dogs at the Bergen PAC - Supergroup Opens a New Tour and Pours Out the Power in New Jersey
Three cheers for the powerful supergroup - The Winery Dogs.

In addition to touring The Winery Dogs will be hosting "Dog Camp" at the Full Moon Resort in Big Indian, NY from July 21-25, 2014. Campers will get up close and personal with the power trio as they attend instrument-specific clinics, learn songwriting techniques and enjoy intimate performances from the group. "Dog Camp" is for all ages and abilities.

In the lobby the band was selling merch including the newly released THE WINERY DOGS SPECIAL EDITION that contains two CDs. Disc 1 is the standard album and Disc 2 is entitled UNLEASHED IN JAPAN 2013, comprised of 10 songs recorded live in Japan during their July '13 tour, featuring "Criminal," a track previously unavailable in the U.S., along with a 16-page booklet of live photos and lyrics. UNLEASHED IN JAPAN 2013 is also available as a stand-alone digital album.

Opening for The Winery Dogs was Prophet - a melodic hard rock band from New Jersey. They were active from 1985-1991 but periodically play out, which led them to the opening slot at the begenPAC. The five-piece presented a solid set of hard and progressive rockers keeping the pace quick in a fine compliment to The Winery Dogs.

The bergenPAC in the heart of downtown Englewood is surrounded by restaurants and shops. The venue continues to host a wide range of talented artists such as The Winery Dogs. Upcoming events at the bergenPAC include The Duprees, James Blunt, The Wailers, Kim Jong-Seo, Dickey Betts & The Outlaws, Ed Asner as FDR, Martin Short, Tommy James with The Shondells, Rusted Root & Donna The Buffalo, John Legend, Kansas and the Bonzo Bash.

The Winery Dogs at the Bergen PAC - Supergroup Opens a New Tour and Pours Out the Power in New Jersey
Like sages from the past Prophet re-emerged to help unleash The Winery Dogs.

Related Links: For more information on THE WINERY DOGS and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - The Winery Dogs | Bergen PAC | Winery Dogs 2013 Review | Winery Dogs CD Review | Interview with Mike Portnoy

(Originally Published on May 02, 2014)

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