Group more dog than star, but Keanu draws eager crowd
by P.J. Huffstutter
Dogstar | Keanu Reeves
From the price of the cover charge and the number of lacy undergarments tossed on stage, you would have thought it was Tom Jones prancing on stage at the Belly Up Tavern late Thursday night.
Guess again. Like Johnny Depp and Woody Harrelson, Keanu Reeves, 30, is following in the vainglorious wake of fellow actors who insist they too can be rock stars. In San Diego, Reeves proved to be a big draw.
The sold-out gig lured a mostly female audience to the Solana Beach club -- to spend from $15 to $18.50 and see hunky Keanu Reeves in the flesh. That he happened to play bass in a band called Dogstar was superfluous.
"I scheduled my job interview in San Diego around this gig," said Julia Ryan, 24, a recent Arizona State graduate who lives in Tempe, Ariz. "My boyfriend thinks I'm nuts, but he's just jealous."
Tim Josephson, 33, a temp from Pacific Beach, was one of the few men who dared attend.
"You know what's going to happen when Keanu steps off that stage and the lights come up?" asked Josephson. "Keanu's not going to be here, but I will be. For these chicks, I'm the next best thing to Keanu Reeves."
Wandering through the estrogen-charged crowd was like stumbling upon an Aerosmith groupie convention. It's rare that you see such obvious misuse of bleach outside a Laundromat.
Before Dogstar performed, women in the audience repeated the "Keanu is a babe" mantra and compared quintessential KR celluloid moments. Black halter tops, leather belts, navel rings and faded jeans with peek-a-boo holes in the derriere was de rigueur.
The band stepped on stage at 11:15 p.m. and, for the next 67 minutes, was enveloped in shrieks for "Keanu! Keanu! Keanu!"
The novelty of seeing the actor in person wore off before the first song ended. Here was this scruffy guy in a baggy black T-shirt, skate-rat jeans and sneakers hunched over his white bass, gnawing on his lower lip as he concentrated on keeping up with the drummer. He looked like a confused puppy: a little dazed, sort of cute and eager to please.
Dogstar is not a particularly talented ensemble. They slaughtered The Jam's "The Modern World." The original Reeves-penned tunes ranged from simplistic -- "I don't want to go to camp/The other kids don't understand/That's not the way to be a man" -- to ridiculous.
Reeves was not Rob Wasserman on bass. But he seemed to have picked up enough tips and pop-star poses from his Bill and Ted days to pass as a competent musician.
Then he sang. Suffice to say that Keanu Reeves' vocal ability was as passionate as his portrayal of Jonathan Harker in the film "Bram Stoker's Dracula."
After five interruptions due to amorous fans flinging themselves upon the actor and a flurry of flowers and underwear, Reeves left the stage with a shrug and a smile, rushing past eager rows of hands straining to touch him.
So, said one woman, turning to her neighbor: "You've just paid $18.50 to see a mediocre band. How do you feel?"
"Oh Jesus, oh Jesus, oh Jesus," the frantic woman responded, obviously hyperventilating. "Keanu is such a babe." The woman then fainted.