Canadian Musician


Hal Rodriguez

Concert Review: The Winery Dogs at The Phoenix

Winery Dogs Phoenix Aug 3 2014 cropVirtuoso supergroup, The Winery Dogs, played the last gig of their year long tour at The Phoenix last Sunday. The powerhouse trio of Richie Kotzen (lead vocals/guitar/piano), Mike Portnoy (vocals/drums), and Billy Sheehan (vocals/bass) played their unique mix of hard hitting rock and roll infused with both anthemic hooks and dizzying feats of musicianship. Each member is widely celebrated and revered on their instruments and displayed their strengths by creating moments within songs where they played impossibly intricate lines in unison.

Sheehan and Portnoy played gargantuan grooves driven by their tireless energy and ferocity, all while pulling off acrobatics on the bass and drums. Upfront, Kotzen dazzled on the fretboard with his effortless mastery of legato, fluidly ripping from one lightning idea to the next. But more than just a shred fest, the trio sang their choruses in vibrant harmony, led by Kotzen’s soulful, R&B tinged vocals that could also soar and distort with the best hard rock singers of his generation. It’s rare to witness the highest level of musicianship in a trio that can also entertain with accessible songwriting and showmanship, but it’s these three elements that make The Winery Dogs a fearsome force to be reckoned with. For more on The Winery Dogs, visit and purchase The Winery Dogs on iTunes. Thanks to Amanda Cagan and Andrew King.

Hal Rodriguez is a Toronto based musician, transcriber, teacher, and published writer. For Skype lessons and transcription services, he can be contacted at You can also follow him on Twitter @halwit, on, and at

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One Response to “Concert Review: The Winery Dogs at The Phoenix”

  1. Jim Says:

    Excellent review of a great concert with big names.

    I just wished it was advertised more to the general public.

    They are a hard rock band with talent.

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