HITCHED TO A STAR
Dogstar Makes Good Use of its Keanu Connection
by Jae-Ha Kim
Back in the late '70s when the Bay City Rollers played the Midwest the crowds were made up of preteen girls who screamed throughout the one-hour set for their favorite Roller.
On Saturday, when Dogstar -- the band overshadowed by its movie star bassist -- performed its debut Chicago gig at the Park West, the crowd of women screamed throughout the one-hour set for their favorite Dog.
Bassist Keanu Reeves apparently was everyone's favorite. But you get the idea. From the screams to the teddy bears being tossed onstage, it was a Bay City flashback.
Reeves, of course, is the star of last year's "Speed," which catapulted him to the movie world's A-list. In his latest film, "A Walk in the Clouds" (opening Friday) he has his first romantic lead.
And that's who the fans came to see: a movie star. If he could play bass, too, cool.
"I don't care if he just stands there and does nothing," said Sandra Tellet, 24, of the Northwest Side. "I adore him and I want to be close to him. I'm going to try to get to the front of the stage."
Out of deference to his bandmates -- drummer Rob Mailhouse and guitarists Gregg Miller and Brett Domrose -- who play quite well, Reeves was careful not to hog the spotlight, but virtually anything he did elicited fan approval. He smiled (Yahhhhhhhhhhhh!). He waved (Ahhhhhhhhhhh!). He dodged flying panties (Heeeee heeeee!).
While a few fans thoughtfully chanted "Dogstar! Dogstar!" they were drowned out by the majority shouting "Kee-ah-noo! Kee-ah-noo!"
Reeves, who looked fetching in a scruffy way and was wearing a black t-shirt and faded jeans, sang at previous Dogstar performances but not here. Maybe it's because every time he so much as looked up, the women screamed. He said "hi" and "thank you" and did two second bass solos but that as noisy as he got.
But face it. Dogstar, a grunge band that can be described as aiming for Pearl Jam meets Green Day, wouldn't be selling out the Park West on a weekend without Reeves (whose musical skill can best be described as moderate). They'd be getting a Wednesday night gig at Metro. Maybe.
But that this show is geared for women is obvious everywhere. Even at the souvenir stand. The baseball hats -- $15 -- came in three different colors. And besides the standard concert T-shirts, there were trendy baby-style T-shirts with the Dogstar logo (a paw print). You won't find that at a Metallica show.
Final thought: Dogstar is Rat's God backward. I wonder if Brad Pitt might want that for a band moniker? These women can only hope.