Keanu's rock band not a Dog but not a star
Dogstar, featuring Keanu Reeves, at the Paradise Tuesday night.
by Sarah Rodman
You're a hugely popular, some say gorgeous, movie star. But few take your stiff line readings seriously. You want to be an artiste, and you've already tried Shakespeare. What do you do? If you're Keanu Reeves, you go on tour with your rock band of four years, Dogstar.
Reeves, star of such films as "Speed," "Little Buddha," "My Own Private Idaho" and "The River's Edge," is pursuing a musical side career to the extent that Dogstar is shopping around a three-song demo to record companies and is on a 25-city tour.
About 600 people, many of them female, packed the Paradise on Tuesday night to see if bassist Reeves, wearing a knit black cap, black T-shirt and about a 9 o'clock shadow, has the chops and angst necessary to be a successful, convincing rocker. The band, it turns out, isn't all that bad.
The musicianship, including Reeves' bass playing and fellow actor Robert Mailhouse's drumming, was adequate. (Mailhouse is a former cast member of "Days of Our Lives.") Singer-guitarists Gregg Miller and Bret Domrose go for the pop-punk style of Nirvana, the drive of Live, the peppiness of Green Day, the punchy chords of Buffalo Tom. The result is a generic sound.
What could be deciphered of the lyrics seemed pretty run of the mill: despair about love and life, and lots of cliches. Again, no worse than hundreds of more popular bands with record deals.
Reeves seemed a bit nervous but enthusiastic and more than a little embarrassed by the attention and fervor of the crowd, speaking only two words early on: "Thank you." He didn't draw attention to himself and obviously enjoyed playing.
Opening act Tea Party played four songs in about 40 minutes. Combining the Doors' laconic psychedelia with the Cult's heavy-metal resulted in overlong, trippy, loud and sluggish rock.