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Keanu Reeves performs with his band Dogstar at Great American Music Hall in San Francisco on Dec. 3.Scott Strazzante/The Associated Press

Dogstar, a Southern California alt-rock trio of actor-musicians, played Lee’s Palace in Toronto on Saturday. The first thing one might have noticed was that there was no microphone stand in front of the bass player. The second thing one might have noticed was that the bass player was Toronto-raised film star Keanu Reeves. The third thing was that he really wasn’t that noticeable at all.

“How are you guys doing tonight?” songwriting singer/guitarist Bret Domrose asked straight off. The whoop from the sold-out crowd of 500 or so was lost in the opening crash and jangle of the set-opening Blonde, typical of the band’s brooding melodic fare. “Whisper in my ear, take away all my fear,” Domrose sang, his baritone smooth and approachable. “Don’t leave me lonely tonight.”

Blonde is the lead track on Somewhere Between the Power Lines and Palm Trees, the group’s first album since 2000′s seeming swan song, Happy Ending. That is nearly a quarter-century hiatus – in Dogstar years, the band has skipped an entire generation.

According to their bio, they’re a seventies band musically who “somehow got lost in the nineties.” Judging by their harmonically agreeable material – let’s call it grunge light – they still reside in that decade.

And perhaps the middle-aged audience does as well. One fan wore a Point Break T-shirt and another man shouted “Johnny Utah,” which is the name of Reeve’s character in the 1991 surf-crime classic co-starring Patrick Swayze. We remember Swayze’s wild-eyed crook Bodhi saying this: “Little hand says it’s time to rock and roll.”

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Dog Star's Toronto performance was one of two Canadian stops as it tours after releasing Somewhere Between the Power Lines and Palm Trees, the group’s first album since 2000.Handout

If there is the temptation to refer to Dogstar as a vanity project, that term should be avoided like a bass solo (which Reeves avoided). The band is of a professional quality, not a “project.” As for vanity, Reeves exhibited a mole’s taste for the spotlight. Wearing black jeans with a matching T-shirt, he did not say a word all night. The bearded John Wick star was as unanimated on stage as he is on screen.

Twice, though, he delivered a devil’s horn rock ‘n’ roll salute, flashing it with an underhand flourish, as if hurling a bowling bowl. I’d like to think Laurence Olivier would have done it that same way.

The only consistent mannerism was the pushing of his long hair away from his face. So, the strong, silent bassist, stoically holding down the band’s bottom end, straight out of central casting. The 59-year-old’s playing was uncomplicated. His Fender bass had frets and four strings, and Reeves knew what to do with almost all of them.

Toronto was the second of two Canadian tour stops. (In October, the band played Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls, Ont.) Tickets cost $42.50. Band T-shirts sold for the rock-star price of $55. Where does Dogstar get off selling such expensive merchandise? Perhaps they got off at Bathurst Station, a half block away. I saw no luxury tour bus parked in front of the venue.

As for the performance, the semi-rock-star band was half decent. There was a spaced-out Pink Floyd vibe to the song Glimmer, but otherwise the tuneful, FM-friendly rock was something an Our Lady Peace fan might appreciate. Tempos and levels of aggression varied.

Drummer Robert Mailhouse, who soap opera fans may remember from Days of Our Lives, doubled on harmonica for Dillon Street, a sentimental story-song in the seventies tradition of Billy Joel’s Piano Man and Bread’s The Guitar Man: “He wore his heart on his sleeve/ He played music and people believed.”

Frontman Domrose addressed the audience halfway through the set. “We did it for the right reasons,” he said of the new album. “We poured our hearts into it.”

In a better world, he would not need to make that declaration. But in the real world, actor bands rarely get a fair shake. On stage, Dogstar acquitted itself well. It felt just like any other Saturday night at Lee’s Palace, which is all anyone should ask for or expect.

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