The Philadelphia Inquirer (US), July 31, 1995

Keanu Reeves' Dogstar at the TLA

by A.D. Amorosi

Watch as Keanu sweats!
Thrill as Keanu grins!
And grow wildly alarmed as Keanu points!

You may imagine those exclamations as advertisments for the next Keanu Reeves film venture. This time though, Reeves is not the goofy adventurer, the hulky cop, or the cyber-messenger.

This time, Keanu is just the bassist for a still-unsigned band - Dogstar - that sold out the Theater of Living Arts on Saturday night.

But as he causally exits his taxi and unloads his own bass upon arriving at the back of the TLA, we see from the almost exclusicely female drove of fans who stand frozen in the humidity awaiting their hero that Reeves is not just any old bassist.

"We're trying to get these pictures signed for our daughters. Really," says Dorothy Senatore, 48, who was there with Denise Senatore, 39. Behind them stand their daughters Adrienne and Jen, both 15, telling about the trip they made to California to see the apartment where Reeves once lived.

Patty Hann, 33, says she was prepared to travel to Japan in order to see Dogstar's very first shows, but "they were sold out."

Nothing compares, though, to the reaction the band gets inside the TLA. Thunderous applause, wild cheering and deafening screams that would make the Beatles cry accompany each yet-unheard tune and every flinch Reeves makes.

And before the show is over, at least one woman will faint from the sight of the adorable hulking shoulders and goofy grin.

As for the music of Dogstar, the band falls into the vanguard of power punk. From the rousing start of "Let It Down," to the Who-inspired chords of "Trying to Get Free" and the slick-but-gruff popiness of "Honesty Anyway," Dogstar actually proves that it is a band and not just a vehicle for the actor.

Singer-players Gregg Miller, Bret Domrose, and Rob Mailhouse have pleasantly range-y, full-throated voices. And though Reeves doesn't sing at the TLA (as he has at other shows), he does pluck a bass pretty well, even though the instrument sometimes seems foreign to him.

It is pogoing Reeves - who has spent most of the evening staring at his shoes - who seems most at ease being just another guy in the band. Closing with an almost-Archies version of Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World," we see that Dogstar has some bite beyond its master Reeves.




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