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The Winery Dogs - Unleashed In Japan 2013 Award winner

The Winery Dogs
Unleashed In Japan 2013
by Matt Coe at 15 May 2014, 8:38 PM

One of the most successful new hard rock/ metal acts of recent memory would be the ‘supergroup’ trio known as THE WINERY DOGS. Originally starting a few years ago through ex-DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy and MR. BIG bassist Billy Sheehan, their original vocalist/ guitarist for the band would be ex-WHITESNAKE / BLUE MURDER man John Sykes. Unfortunately due to longer than normal time constraints, John would leave the group – opening the door for established solo vocalist/ guitarist Richie Kotzen, most well known in a band setting for his work in POISON or with Billy during the early 2000’s in MR. BIG. Now that you have all the players and their history straight – let’s focus on this live document “Unleashed in Japan 2013” from their tour of the Far East.

This 10 song record delves into their self-titled album for the most part, fleshing things out with some of their past in terms of “Stand” (a POISON song Richie did during their “Native Tongue” years) as well as an ELVIN BISHOP cover “Fooled Around and Fell in Love”. What makes the band so special is their natural affinity and musical interplay – showcasing incredible virtuoso technique at times that is highly specialized and progressive, yet maintaining a focus on solid hooks, steady grooves, and three part chorus vocal harmonies. The darker “Time Machine” features Billy taking the lead during the verses through impressive, fluid bass that has been on display since his TALAS early days, while the seven minute plus “Desire” allows the band to get into this comfortable, free flow jam a la 70’s artists who would just feel out the root notes and expand upon them to the delight of the audience.

The ‘hits’ if you can call them like “Elevate” and “I’m No Angel” should bring THE WINERY DOGS major attention – and Richie should no longer be a hidden gem of an artist, his bluesy vocals and stunning, finger picking axe skills an aural treasure trove to pour through. As expected, the polite Japanese audience is enthusiastic at all the right parts – clapping and cheering along, but never overbearing to the three musicians. On top of their game, “Unleashed in Japan 2013” should satiate fans while the band continue to tour across the globe this year- and hopefully we’ll get a follow up studio album by late 2015, as this is one of the best newcomer bands of the last 20 years.

4 Star Rating

1. Elevate
2. Criminal
3. Time Machine
4. I’m No Angel
5. Not Hopeless
6. Stand
7. You Can’t Save Me
8. Shine
9. Fooled Around and Fell In Love
10. Desire
Richie Kotzen- Lead Vocals, Guitar
Billy Sheehan – Bass, Background Vocals
Mike Portnoy – Drums, Background Vocals
Record Label: earMusic


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Edited 18 September 2021

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