Feb 22, 2023

The Winery Dogs - Rams Head Live

Category: Live Reviews



Rams Head Live

Baltimore, MD


The Winery Dogs Set List:  Gaslight, Xanadu, Captain Love, Hot Streak, Desire, Breakthrough, Time Machine, Stars, Damaged, Mad World, The Other Side, Bass Solo, I’m No Angel, The Red Wine, Oblivion, ENCORE: Regret, Elevate

 The Winery Dogs are the true definition of a “Super Group”.

 Richie Kotzen:  a former member of Poison and Mr. Big as well as a prolific solo artist. 

 Billy Sheehan: former member of Steve Vai's band, David Lee Roth, Talas, and Mr. Big.

Mike Portnoy:  An original member of Dream Theater, Twisted Sister, Flying Colors, Transatlantic, Neal Morse Band, Sons of Apollo and Adrenaline Mob.

 The Winery Dog story starts out like this:  Portnoy & Sheehan wanted to put together a power trio and initially they worked with John Sykes under the name “Bad Apples” but that project fell apart fast and radio host Eddie Trunk suggested they use Richie Kotzen who previously played with Sheehan in Mr. Big.  

The Winery Dogs are a musicians band; their audience is primarily musicians and music lovers that appreciate strong performers.  Kotzen is an amazing guitarist; his six string wizardry is legendary and second only to his vocal abilities.  Kotzen is known primarily in the hard rock world as a guitarist but his vocals are awe-inspiring and equal parts soul and grit.

 Billy Sheehan plays the bass like a guitar; his finger tapping, chord slapping, and solid rhythm holds down every song that The Winery Dogs do.


Drummer Mike Portnoy is the bands secret weapon because he holds the backbone of the band with his beats and his backing vocals are powerful and fill out the bands sound.

 The Winery Dogs have three full length records under their belt and during this show Kotzen commented that the band used to perform covers during their early shows but at this point in their career they have enough original material to fill out an entire set and that they would no longer perform covers.  


“III” is the latest release from The Winery Dogs and came out on February 3, 2023.

At the bands merch table the standard t-shirts and hoodies were for sale; the unique items available were signed Portnoy drum heads that ranged from $70 - $125 (depending upon the size head you chose) and a Richie Kotzen stage used Wah Pedal for $500.

The set was an interesting mix of new and old material.  Kotzen and company could have easily dazzled the crowd with an instrumental set of non-stop solo’s but instead they chose to focus on songs with lyrics, melody, the focus of this band has always been on “the song”.


Kotzen and Sheehan played dueling riffs throughout various moments in the set and if you look closely at Sheehan’s output jack on his bass you’ll see that he had a stereo set up.

Musically speaking, The Winery Dogs delivered an amazing set, their musicianship was superb, they were professional, improvised just enough to keep it interesting, and if you know the material from their records they performed them very true to how they were recorded for the most part.


The sound mix was flawless, Kotzen’s guitar rang clear and his Fender Strat and Tele both sounded clear as a bell even with distortion.  Sheehan’s bass tone is a unique sound which compliments his style of playing; Sheehan is a one of a kind performer and no other bass player sounds like him in the rock world.

The Winery Dogs delivered a solid 90 minute set and left Baltimore very satisfied.  This show took place on a Wednesday night and while it was not totally sold out there was definitely a large crowd in attendance.  


During the song “The Red Wine” Sheehan played slide on his bass with a Wine bottle that had a Winery Dogs sticker on it.  The band left the stage after the song “Oblivion” and came back for a 2 song encore which consisted of “Regret” and “Elevate”.

Author: Bob Suehs