The Winery Dogs blaze a trail across Manchester

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Last night The Winery Dogs blazed a trail across Manchester, as their ‘Hot Streak’ tour hit the city, arriving at The Ritz.

Comprising of lead singer and guitarist Richie Kotzen, bassist Billy Sheehan, and drummer Mike Portnoy, the virtuoso group proved exactly why they’re one of the most talked about rock acts of recent years, with an incendiary show that delighted the crowd.

Taking to the stage with a brace of tracks from sophomore release ‘Hot Streak’, with a pounding ‘Oblivion’ and a sultry ‘Captain Love’, the three piece dazzled from the off, showcasing their perfect blend of musicianship and melody.

Speaking from the stage, Kotzen – who had just celebrated his forty-sixth birthday – was first to greet the crowd, saying: “Hey Manchester, how you all doing?”.

Interrupted by the enthusiastic audience singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to the guitarist, an astonished Portnoy acknowledged the rousing reception that they were receiving, declaring:“F**k the other shows, it’s all about Manchester!”

He added: “You guys are a bunch of rowdy m***********s!”

Going on to cover tracks from their two well-received releases, including an extended ‘The Other Side’ – which saw Portnoy utilise the entire stage including banisters, monitors and floor as his drum kit – the supergroup thrilled the packed house.

It wasn’t all about the over-the-top showmanship however, as Kotzen’s delicate acoustic take on ballad ‘Fire’ proved a show-stopping highlight.

Not to be outdone, Sheehan’s solo spot meanwhile, saw the much respected bassist unleash a flurry of notes during a five-minute slot that almost defied belief.

Ending the evening with two of the best-loved tracks from their self-titled debut, an upliftingly soulful ‘Regret’ and a celebratory ‘Desire’, brought the curtain down on what was an incredible night, that solidified the power trio’s stellar reputation.

The Winery Dogs’ U.K. tour concludes tonight (5th Feb 2016) when the band play Birmingham’s O2 Institute. The tour continues with a run of dates in mainland Europe, starting in Paris on Sat 6th Feb 2016.

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Eamon

Music Journalist and classic rock / metal enthusiast.