Pop Music: Keanu Reeves' Dogstar a Competent, Lightweight Act
by Sandy Masuo
In "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure," the film that put Keanu Reeves on the celluloid map, he and his cohort, Bill, a pair of wayward Southern California high-schoolers who worship Eddie Van Halen, time-travel through history to meet their destiny: a band called Wyld Stallions that eventually plays a pivotal role in the evolution of humanity.
Six years later, Reeves is one of Hollywood's hottest young stars, and he also has his own real-life rock band. Dogstar isn't quite as appealing and certainly doesn't have as big a future as Wyld Stallions, but it made for an amusing close to an evening of light entertainment on Saturday at the Hollywood American Legion Hall.
The audience, a mixture of the crush-stricken and the curious, seemed primed for the main event from the get-go, generating warm support for opening acts Dakota Wild Flowers (an exuberant guitar-pop trio) and Brother (a bagpipe-wielding progressive-rock outfit from Australia).
Though Dogstar's show was punctuated by outbursts of screaming prompted by bassist Reeves' solos and gestures, the music itself simply wasn't all that interesting. A competent, energetic blend of punk-pop a la Bad Religion with perhaps a dose of Pixies-style acidity thrown in for good measure, it lacked the sturdy songwriting and hefty hooks that make those bands memorable.
Compounding these problems were weaknesses in the vocal department. Though each of the four members took a stab at the mike, none was a more than passable singer.
Frontman Brett Domrose moved through most of the standard rock-star poses with relish, while Reeves maintained a reasonably low profile, assuming vocal duties only once. Ironically, it was Reeves' very Ted-like stage presence--his earnest, underplayed enthusiasm--that upstaged the grandstanding of his bandmates.
Neither bodacious nor bogus, it was a most non-heinous adventure.