Live | The Winery Dogs [& Jared James Nichols] – Die Kantine – Cologne [Ger]
20 June 2023
When a band like The Winery Dogs is on tour, it draws quite a bit of attention. Not surprising, with heavy weights like Billy Sheehan, Mike Portnoy and Richie Kotzen as band members. They released the album ‘III’ earlier this year and are now on a European festival tour, with extra gigs throughout the week. So was the gig today at Cologne’s Die Kantine, a nice location with an outdoor stage. However today’s gig is inside. And with more than 30 degrees Celsius outside, a packed hall and a humidity of 100%, it was pretty hot and sweaty for everyone. The outdoor stage would not have been a bad option I guess.
JAMES JARED NICHOLS
First it was Jared James Nichols’ turn to warm up the audience even more. Judging by the loud response from the audience the power trio did a pretty good job. In terms of music it was a mix of blues/southern hardrock and it reminded me a bit of the Pride & Glory project that Zakk Wylde released in the early 90s. This comparison was only strengthened when the Black Sabbath classic ,,War Pigs’’ was played as the last song in the set. But also the band’s own work could count on a warm reception from the audience, so I think the band gained some fans. Definitely a very nice support band!
THE WINERY DOGS
Just after 9:00 p.m., after a short change over, The Winery Dogs takes the stage. The sound is loud and fat! The lighting is great, however, Richie‘s vocals remain somewhat in the background in this audio violence, which I found unfortunate. The mood of the audience is good from the first minute and the moisture slowly starts to drip off the walls. In terms of songs, The Winery Dogs have plenty of choice, with 3 albums on their resume. They opened with ,,Gaslight’’ and ,,Xanadu’’ from their latest album. With 5 songs, the latter is well represented in the setlist.
Personally, I found Mr. Sheehan, who has already reached the age of 70, the most vital on stage. This is and remains the master on bass and his sound is recognizable from miles away. Despite his age, this man remains a force of nature on stage. Where ego predominates in many ‘super bands’ I thankfully cannot see that in The Winery Dogs. Each of the three musicians has his own place on stage and it is all about the music and not a ‘look what I can do’ contest. That would be unnecessary because all three are masters of their craft.
Portnoy is blazing behind his beautiful silver drum kit and Kotzen also knows how to expertly reproduce every lick live. It’s a shame that the vocals get somewhat lost in the wall of sound, because if it had all been just slightly softer, that too would have been heard to perfection.
That we were dealing with a festival setlist is also clear, because after an hour and a half the barrel was pretty much empty. Despite the almost unbearable free sauna climate in the venue, many of the visitors would have appreciated a few more songs.
But don’t worry, The Winery Dogs will hit the European stages again in October, hopefully with more bearable temperatures and a slightly longer show. Let’s get ready for round two.
THE WINERY DOGS SETLIST:
The Other Side
The Red Wine
I’m No Angel
All photos by Raymond Helebrand