By the time you read this, The Winery Dogs first tour has now been complete. The Sixxis and The Winery Dogs visited Cincinnati, Ohio’s Mad Frog on the second to last night of their tour last Tuesday night. The Winery Dogs have been drawing big crowds all over the United States, so I was pretty concerned about how many people would try to squeeze into the tiny Mad Frog to see the band play. Maybe it was due to the Black Crowes were playing down the street, or just for the fact that it was a Tuesday night, but the crowd at the Mad Frog was not unmanageable. Quite frankly, seeing a show of this caliber in this small venue, made this a magical night of live music.
I never heard of the opening band The Sixxis before, and I scanned their website to see what they were about. They bio states that their “music presents a core sound of influences ranging from Classical, Jazz, and Rock music coated in a powerful, heavy, seductive, and emotional shell of sound reminiscent of Rush, Muse, Soundgarden, System of a Down, Kings X, and Alice in Chains”. I could definitely hear a mix of these influences in their performance, and I thought these guys kicked ass. They could barely fit their 5 band members on the small stage, and they rocked it nonetheless. Major kudos to Mike Portnoy for helping to bring these guys out on tour. If you are unfamiliar with the Sixxis, visit the band’s website, and check out the clip below. I think you are going to hear a lot more about these guys in the future.
I knew before The Winery Dogs even took the stage that they would be awesome, I just don’t think I realized just HOW awesome they would be. Seeing Billy Sheehan, Richie Kotzen and Mike Portnoy play on a small stage like this was just pure hard rock magic. Sheehan was on fire all night with his acrobatic bass playing. Mike Portnoy was a joy to watch. He is very animated while playing the drums, and in this small club, he controlled the light show as well (that part was pretty comical). Richie Kotzen’s had me bewildered all night. I knew he was a tremendous guitarist, but getting to see him play, and sing for the first time had me stunned. This guy is one of the best unsung talents in hard rock music.
The Winery Dogs’ set list was mostly made up of music from the band’s debut CD, some Richie’s solo music, and the Billy Sheehan penned Talas classic, “Shyboy”. I loved their extended version of “Desire”, and was very impressed by Kotzen’s two songs they performed, “Doin’ What The Devil Says to Do” and “You Can’t Save Me”. This has inspired me to seek out Richie’s solo music. It is fantastic.
Overall, I was very glad that I got to see The Winery Dogs on a small stage. To see expert musicianship from a few feet from the stage was a pretty special experience. I have a feeling we will be hearing a lot more music from The Winery Dogs. This is probably the last time they will play on the smaller stages together. I was glad I was there to see them live.
( I snapped a few pics with my point and shoot camera. You can check them out below.)