Much-improved Dogstar rocks at free concert

Keanu ReevesBy Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun-Times
September 12, 2000

A couple of words about Dogstar. No, Keanu Reeves doesn’t sing. And yes, the band can play.

At a free, 45-minute concert at the House of Blues Monday night, the three-man group rocked hard onstage, lending a punky edge to the material. Much of Dogstar’s set list was culled from “Happy Ending,” its newly released U.S. debut album.

Like Ricky Nelson, David Cassidy and Rick Springfield before him, Reeves has a day job. But unlike those TV stars, this movie star takes a supporting role. He and drummer Rob Mailhouse lay down the pounding foundation for the group, which is fronted by guitarist-singer Bret Domrose.

Since its inception five years ago, the group has improved in musicianship and taken on a confidence that was sorely lacking at Dogstar’s 1995 Chicago debut at the Park West. Back then, it aimed for Pearl Jam by way of Green Day and fell short.

These days, Dogstar’s playing is sturdy and the band’s original songs have a melodic pop influence that suits Domrose’s throaty vocals. On tunes such as “Cornerstore,” Domrose reveals the same quivering tenor as Charlie Sexton in his prime.

Reeves is no dilettante. He won’t set Paul McCartney quaking in his Beatle boots, but his playing is energetic and effective, especially in punk-flavored numbers.

There was a certain irony, though, when the band covered the Carpenters’ “Superstar,” considering it has one in its own fold.
And the predominantly female fans noticed. But the fact is, regardless of why they came, the fans left having heard some solid rock ‘n’ roll.

Fans who missed this show can look forward to another Dogstar concert Oct. 9, probably at the House of Blues.

Comments (2)

  1. Mike Kessler says:

    Who’s the other guy?

  2. Leah says:

    “Rob Mailhouse :)”

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