It’s easy to see why actors are drawn to playing in a band: They can blow off some steam, studio executives don’t ask if a B7 chord is the right choice, there are probably fewer lines to learn, and no one is worrying about opening-weekend grosses. That you can charge $20 (twice the going rate for a movie) makes it hard to argue with the decision. Given the show’s workaday feel and that Dennis Quaid’s movie star appeal could barely fill the club halfway, he probably should keep his music career a hobby.
Quaid — who portrayed Jerry Lee Lewis in the 1987 biopic “Great Balls of Fire” — doesn’t embarrass himself. The Sharks are a highly polished, if anonymous-sounding, bar band, but selections such as Roy Head’s “Treat Her Right,” Carl Perkins’ “Slow Down” and Van Morrison’s “Gloria” don’t set the bar very high. The occasional zydeco and New Orleans blues give both the band — who have performed with Quaid for about two years — and Quaid a chance to show a bit more personality.
As a front man, Quaid gives an actorish performance. During nearly every song he sticks his tongue out lasciviously, gives his hips a shake and duckwalks across the stage. It’s as if he is constructing the character of “Dennis Quaid, rock star” out of tics and mannerisms, most of them too broad and overstated for the small club. And like many amateur singers, he doesn’t know how to modulate his voice; after going full bore for three songs, it’s a hoarse rasp.
But the assembled fans don’t seem to mind — he makes every attempt to please them, shaking hands, running through the crowd, playing to the balconies. For anyone not already enamored of Quaid, the evening is a painless exercise in movie star vanity.