The Winery Dogs Bristol Academy 02-02-16
First up and someone who I was really looking forward to seeing in the live setting for the first time.Inglorious.
I have been fortunate to have had the Inglorious debut cd out on the 19th of February on Frontiers Records Srl since the end of November and as my rave review (http://rockgig.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/inglorious-cd-review.html) shows they are one to look out for.
For nearly 50 minutes this was a real show of intent and purpose from this English 6 piece which includes six string Swede Andreas Eriksson and the towering colossus vocalist Nathan James who has a range of vocals that have to be seen and heard to be believed.
With a lengthy set this was too good an opportunity to miss so they managed to fit in 9 of the 11 tracks from the debut cd with a couple of covers thrown in for good measure.
Here is what they played.
Until I Die
I Surrender (Rainbow cover)
High Flying Gypsy
Bleed For You
Girl Goodbye (Toto cover)
Girl Got A Gun
Opening like the album with the 1-2 hit of Until I Die(with it's huge chorus) and Breakaway they explode onto the Academy's huge stage like a bomb.Centre stage Nathan is a mass of head banging energy and his vocals hit every note that was played on the album with effortless ease.
The most pleasing thing for me was seeing the band hit their stride from the off and recreate all of the album with some stunning string bending from Eriksson with all of the album guitar melodies and extra guitar soloing all present and correct and bettered too.
I Surrender was played with a ferocity that was stunning and Nathan produced a vocal performance that Joe Lynn Turner on the original would have been impressed with.
The rhythm team of bass player Colin Parkinson and drummer Phil Beaver lay down a thunderous rock that gives Nathan and guitarists Eriksson and Billy Taylor the chance to impress.
Your Mine co written with Joel Hoekstra has a vocal line that goes up range by range as the song develops and to see Nathan hit the last notes as intended was very impressive.
A cover of Toto's Girl Goodbye showed off the band's backing vocal capabilities and the way it was stripped back and then built back up again was stunning.
Recent single Girl Got A Gun and for me the quite superb Unaware with a chorus and riff to die for ended the show on a monsterous high.
Inglorious are being touted as the next big thing which is a huge tag to put on such a young band.With a superb debut cd in their back pocket and now having seen them live we can only but hope.
I was a sole singer in the crowd of every song as the band played but with the release now only 10 days away soon crowds world wide will do the same and we can watch them fly.
After such a stunning support set you may worry could the head liners follow that.
I was lucky enough to see the sole UK date in 2013 and now with second album Hot Streak under their belts Bristol Academy was packed to the rafters and over the course of 100 minutes we were treated to a musical masterclass from 3 of the best musicians on the planet.
Here is what they played.
We Are One
Fire (Ritchie Kotzen solo acoustic)
Think It Over
Mike Portnoy drum solo
The Other Side
Billy Sheehan bass solo
I'm No Angel
Some bands need a huge light rig or studio props but this was all about the music and the stunning relationship that the guys have.
Always smiling and enjoying playing together.One will do something different to see if the others notice and such a joy to see such a togetherness and bond in music.
On bass Billy Sheehan plays like no other and to see it at such close quarters a joy.
Richie Kotzen on guitar and vocals excels.His unique vocal range soars and his guitar playing is exemplary equally adapt at riffing and fiery solo's and always a surprise to see no pick used.
At the back Mike Portnoy on drums is his usual ball of energy with no two fills the same and always on the look out for an eye of a fan.He makes me smile as when he drops a stick he turns it into a new fill and could he do it again.
None of them stand out and at times you struggle to take it all in as there is so much going on and probably need 3 sets of eyes to watch it all.
Opening with the 1-2 from new album Hot Streak with both Oblivion and Captain Love full of trademark fills runs and most importantly big choruses.
Oblivion sees Portnoy at his best with his hands and feet a blur and different variations of fills but always keeping in time and the first of many superb backing vocal from him and Sheehan too.
Captain Love starts on Richie's slow laid back guitar riff and a slight drop in pace and has areal groove to it and builds to Kotzen's breathless chorus vocal and love Sheehan adding some sounds never heard from a bass before!
Title track Hot Streak is a monster with it's stop start rhythm and Portnoy stunning and so adept at playing the same thing but never the same thing twice and Kotzen's fiery guitar solo is superb.
Fire is played with Richie solo on acoustic and showing how much emotion and soul he can put into a lyric before he then plays a mellow Think It Over on keys with the band rejoining him.
We have a brief Portnoy drum solo and during The Other Side he jumps off his kit and plays the back of it then the floor and even an audience member before Sheehan plays a lengthy bass solo that makes you shake your head in disbelief at his total mastery of his instrument.No one on earth plays it like that.Stunning.
The debut album isn't left out with a superb I'm No Angel with a stunning Kotzen vocal before the main set is wrapped up with Elevate and they leave to deafening applause.
Encores of Regret and then the utterly superb Elevate finish a superb evening and we leave on a high.
The Winery Dogs are a supergroup of epic proportions with a musical dexterity few if any have ever matched.