New Jersey Stage 2015 - Issue 10 - Page 83

hijinks courtesy of the talented threesome consisting of Richie Kotzen, Billy Sheehan and Mike Portnoy. The tantalizing trio return with an album full of bark and a new bite that rocks hard with only a melodic pause or two along the way. On the title track the band funks up their approach just a bit while “Fire” slowly smolders. Both these tracks point to The Winery Dogs as a band who are willing to evolve beyond their successful formula. The rest of the album is a blistering showcase of these musical masters and their exceptional skills. On “Captain Love” we find Kotzen in the clutches of love and lust while “Empire” rises on a strong foundation from the renowned rhythm section. The Winery Dogs are clearly on a hot streak and if they keep putting out albums as strong as this one is that run of good fortune should continue unabated... Marco Benevento is a charismatic, compelling and generous performer known mostly for his work in the modern jam scene. Earlier in the year he played at the Signal Kitchen in Burlington, Vermont and now he’s made that show available for free to his fans as the bootleg style release, Masquerade Ball. Marco dresses up many of his favorites with the help of bassist Dave Dreiwitz and drummer Andy Borger. For years Benevento remained ghost-like (as in not really seen or heard) as a vocalist; but with the release of his last studio recording Swift his singing talents were revealed. In this live concert, with seven months of touring under their belts, you can hear that Marco has gained the confidence and presence to move forward with another skill in his toolkit. Throughout, Benevento’s amped up approach to his keyboard remains 6F