Photos and Review by Raven Divito
After nearly two decades of laying low, Dogstar came to San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall on December 3rd after being on the road touring since mid-summer, and fans, lots of them ladies who’d sprung for the special VIP package and were crammed against the barricade, had been waiting a long time for this.
Anticipation hung thick in the air as the trio took the stage, with the sold out crowd cheering at the opening chords of “Blonde,” the lead track from their 2023 release, “Somewhere Between the Power Lines and Palm Trees.” Guitarist and lead vocalist Bret Domrose took center stage, while Keanu Reeves and drummer Robert Mailhouse preferred the shadows, allowing the music to speak for itself. And it definitely spoke to the band’s devoted following who travel to every show, as singer Domrose noted as he pointed out familiar faces in the crowd.
The setlist showcased much of the new album, with a smattering of additional tracks. From the get-go it was clear this wasn’t a nostalgic tour, but that Dogstar had truly new material and was ready to rock. And while lots of the crowd was there for everyone’s favorite gentleman and big name draw Keanu Reeves, Dogstar is a strong trio with great new material, and Keanu isn’t the center of that, but is a bass-playing third of a strong rock and roll band.
Following the soulful “Blonde,” Dogstar let loose with “Lust,” “How the Story Ends,” and “Everything Turns Around,” all done justice by Domrose’s great vocals and the rhythms of Reeves and Mailhouse, and it felt like they’d started a new chapter of music with a different vibe after their earlier material’s more 90s alternative rock style.
They finished the 18-song set with a four-song encore, finishing the night with “Jackbox,” a big crowd favorite. The crowd looked like they had a great night, and the band did too. Dogstar wraps up their tour on New Year’s Eve in Napa, CA, and all up to date information, tickets, and merch can be found at www.dogstarofficial.com.