The Winery Dogs is a super group consisting of veteran musicians Richie Kotzen (lead vocals, guitar), Mike Portnoy (drums, backing vocals), and Billy Sheehan (bass, backing vocals), who came together in 2013 with their self-titled debut. The band was an instant hit amongst their die-hard fans and to capitalize on that success they milked that album for all it was worth, eventually releasing a deluxe edition and a box set version.
The band followed up their debut with 2015’s ‘Hot Streak’ and it looks like there is some more milking to do. Now the band has packaged a live DVD with a bonus EP of five unreleased songs titled ‘Live in Santiago and Beyond 2013-2016.’ However, in the Winery Dogs’ defense, Portnoy and Sheehan recently announced they will be part of yet another super group called Sons of Apollo, so it might be a while before we get any new material from the Winery Dogs.
‘Live in Santiago and Beyond 2013-2016’ features a live concert filmed at Teatro Cariola in Santiago Chile in 2016. With a band that has this much experience to their credit, you get nothing less than perfection. The musicianship between the three is astounding. The Winery Dogs run through a balanced set list from both their full lengths, with Sheehan and Portnoy getting about five minutes of solo time to show off their chops, and if you are a musician, you will marvel at their skills.
Kotzen is no show pony, though. One of the most underrated vocalists in rock & roll, Kotzen belts out the songs with a bluesy rock feel to them while manhandling his trusty Fender Telecaster, making it growl and moan throughout the set.
The EP of previously unreleased songs features tracks which could have easily made it on the two original releases. It makes you wonder how much material this band is sitting on. Kotzen shreds on the funky album opener “Criminal,” the acoustic ballad “Solid Ground” gives the EP balance, and “The Game” lends itself to Portnoy’s drumming. The band do throw in a pair of covers, including Gary Wright’s 1975 track “Love Is Alive” and David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream.”
If the past is any indication, I am sure this isn’t the last special edition of the Winery Dogs we will be seeing.